Muslim taxi driver Tanveer Ahmed has been jailed for life for a killing Glasgow shopkeeper he claimed had “disrespected the Prophet Muhammad”.
Ahmed was on Tuesday sentenced to a minimum of 27 years in jail for the “barbaric, chilling, premeditated execution” of Asad Shah on March 24.
Ahmed, 32, travelled from Yorkshire to Glasgow to confront Shah at his store before pulling out a knife and stabbing the 40-year-old.
Ahmed claimed to have been offended by clips Shah had posted online which he said “disrespected the Prophet Muhammad’”.
Shah’s brother and a shop assistant tried to fend Ahmed off as he launched his attack on the popular businessman, described by locals as a “pillar of the community”.
The Shah family, who moved to Scotland from Pakistan in the 1990s to escape persecution, belong to the Ahmadi sect of Islam whose beliefs differ from the majority of Muslims.
The court heard their belief that Prophet Muhammad was not the final prophet was a view many consider blasphemous.
In a statement released through his lawyer after the killing, Ahmed said: “If I had not done this others would have and there would be more killings and violence in the world.”
Rafiq Hayat, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK, said Shah’s family had “suffered immensely as a result of this brutal killing. No one should suffer or be murdered, least of all for their faith.”
“We mourn the loss of a much-loved member of this city and community and pray that his sacrifice marks a new era in the history of Glasgow when we declare that we will never let hate divide and destroy us,” he said in a statement released after Ahmed’s sentencing.
Hayat said in Glasgow, like in many parts of the world, “we have witnessed the evil of a warped and poisonous ideology of hate, that is at war with the whole of humanity”.
Hayat added: “But out of this dark episode we also saw the spirit of humanity, as the city came together in a show of solidarity to show their support for Mr Shah and to take a united stand against extremism. Mr Shah’s only crime was to spread a message of love and compassion and the whole city paid tribute to him for his kindness and care.
“No matter how brutal the crime and how evil the ideology, the people of Glasgow and the UK have made clear that we will not let hate prevail. We welcome the fact that justice has been served and our community will continue to work with others in this proud and great city to build a legacy of love.”
Hayat said Shah’s murder was the first time that an Ahmadi Muslim had been killed on British soil because of his beliefs and highlighted the role everyone must play in combating extremism.
“This pre-meditated murder highlights how vigilant we all must be to the evil of extremism and we hope and pray that no one else has to suffer at the hands of extremists. Through initiatives such as our ‘United Against Extremism’ campaign we will continue to remove misunderstandings, promote respect and build bridges with all communities and send a clear signal that the UK will not tolerate such hate and nor will such hate divide us.”
Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Glasgow last month held a peace walk aimed at raising £25,000 for Shah’s family. A fundraising page set up after his death has already raised £100,000.