A 32-year-old man has been locked up for life after he admitted killing Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah for “disrespecting” Islam.
Sunni Muslim Tanveer Ahmed, from Bradford, stabbed Shah outside his store in Shawlands on March 24 after watching videos the victim had posted online about his beliefs.
Ahmed was told he would serve a minimum of 27 years in jail for the murder.
Shah was an Ahmadiyya, a minority sect not recognised by all Muslims who are are persecuted in parts of the world and are banned by the constitution of Pakistan from referring to themselves as Muslims.
Ahmed said that he murdered Shah because he had “disrespected” Islam. He pleaded guilty to the religiously-motivated murder at a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow in July.
Judge Lady Rae told Ahmed that he was guilty of the “barbaric killing of a peace-loving man” and “an appalling display of merciless violence” as she sentenced him to life at the same court on Tuesday (9).
The court had previously heard that Ahmed, a cab driver, was in Glasgow a couple of days before the murder with a friend who knew Shah and who showed Ahmed Shah’s Facebook page.
The shopkeeper had uploaded hundreds of videos about his spiritual beliefs to Facebook and YouTube, most of which were filmed behind the counter of his shop.
The court was told Shah had posted some videos which could be viewed as the shopkeeper claiming that he was a prophet.
“The accused’s consistent and repeated account as to his motivation for murdering Asad Shah was that Shah claimed to be a prophet, which so offended his feelings and his faith that he had to kill him,” said advocate depute Iain McSporran who was prosecuting.
Ahmed returned to Bradford but then drove to Glasgow on the day of the murder. On the journey, he watched online footage of Shah and said: “Listen to this guy, something needs to be done, it needs nipped in the bud.”
He arrived at the shop at about 9pm where Shah was working with an assistant, Stephen McFadyen.
After walking around the shop, Ahmed approached the counter and began speaking to Shah then attacked him behind the counter with a knife which he had concealed beneath his robes.
McFadyen was unable to stop the “fast moving” attack which involved repeated stab wounds aimed at Shah’s head and upper body, McSporran said.
The prosecutor told the court that Shah attempted to flee and moved outside the shop but Ahmed “kept hold of him and continued striking him with the knife”.
Shah was taken to hospital in Glasgow, but despite CPR and surgery he could not be saved and was pronounced dead at about 10pm.
After carrying out the murder, Ahmed then calmly walked to a bus shelter and sat “head bowed as if in prayer” and made no attempt to escape later cooperating with officers who arrested him.
Shah was born in Rabwah, Pakistan, but moved to Scotland after he and his family were persecuted for their faith. They were granted asylum by the UK.
On the day Shah died, he had posted a message on Facebook which read: “Good Friday and a very happy Easter, especially to my beloved Christian nationx.”
After being arrested, Ahmed released a statement through his lawyer admitting he had killed Shah as he had falsely claimed to be a prophet.
The statement was immediately condemned by Ahmadiyya Muslim leaders, who said killing for “blasphemy” was “completely against the teachings of Islam”.
A statement from the shopkeeper’s family - his wife, parents and six siblings - said they could no longer live normal lives and some intended to leave Scotland.
His parents said: “We brought our children to this country to seek refuge from Pakistan in 1991 fleeing persecution, religious hatred, discrimination and a danger to our lives because we were Ahmadis.
“We never thought that we could be in danger here. We feel imprisoned by our pain and suffering and we have little hope of ever having a normal life again.”