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Asad Shah: Muslim leaders condemn shopkeeper murder suspect's 'Prophet Muhammad disrespect' claim

'It is the firm belief of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community that all people should be able to peacefully practice their faith without fear of persecution or violence'

Matt Broomfield
Friday 08 April 2016 16:37 BST
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Members of Glasgow's Ahmadiyya Muslim community bow their heads at his funeral
Members of Glasgow's Ahmadiyya Muslim community bow their heads at his funeral (PA)

Ahmadiyya Muslim leaders in Glasgow have condemned a statement by the man accused of the murder of shopkeeper Asad Shah.

Known for their active missionary work and peaceful engagement with members of other faiths, Ahmadiyya Muslims like Mr Shah often face persecution within Islamic communities.

Tanveer Ahmed, 32, is accused of killing the 40-year-old Mr Shah in a sectarian attack.

Shopkeeper dies after being attacked outside his store

In a statement issued through his lawyer, the Bradford taxi driver said: "Asad Shah disrespected the messenger of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Mr Shah claimed to be a Prophet."

In response, Glasgow's Ahmadiyya leaders urged Muslim communities to resist "hate and violence".

Tributes left to Asad Shah outside his shop in Glasgow, where thousands gathered for a candle-lit vigil (PA)

"This is deeply disturbing and sets an extremely dangerous precedent, as it justifies the killing of anyone - Muslim or non-Muslim - whom an extremist considers to have shown disrespect to Islam," they said in a statement.

"In some countries Ahmadiyya Muslim members, Christians and people of other faiths are routinely attacked and murdered by extremists for accusations of blasphemy.

"Such killings are completely against the teachings of Islam. We must not let the same mindset of hate and violence take root here in Glasgow, and for that matter, the UK and anywhere in the world.

"The Ahmadiyya Muslim community urges the government and law enforcement agencies to take all possible measures to root out all forms of religious hatred, intolerance and sectarianism.

A fundraising page set up by Mr Shah's customers has received more than £70,000 in donations (GoFundMe)

"If extremists are given a free hand, we will come to see the same levels of religious hatred and persecution here in the UK that we see in some Muslim countries.

"It is the firm belief of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community that all people should be able to peacefully practice their faith without fear of persecution or violence.

"We urge all religious bodies, especially Muslim leaders and Imams, to come out in public to condemn this statement made by Tanveer Ahmed, so that all Muslims know this is never acceptable in Islam. This will go a long way to help eliminate all extremists."

Worldwide, an estimated 20 million Ahmadi Muslims face persecution for their beliefs, principally their veneration of 19th-century Indian teacher Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the promised messiah.

In Mr Shah's place of birth, Pakistan, the world's largest population of Ahmadis are banned from referring to themselves as Muslims. In 2010, attacks on Ahmadi mosques in Lahore claimed the lives of 86 worshippers.

Ahmadis are also banned from entering Mecca in Saudia Arabia, and face institutional discrimination and extremist violence in parts of the Muslim world.

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