A Muslim man admitted Thursday that he killed a Glasgow shopkeeper because the merchant “insulted the prophet Mohammed,” The Guardian is reporting.
Tanveer Ahmed, 32, has shown no remorse for the murder of Asad Shah, also a Muslim, who was a respected and well-loved newsstand owner in the Shawlands area of Glasgow. In fact, he issued a statement through his lawyer that Shah deserved to die.
“This all happened for one reason and no other issues and no other intentions. Asad Shah disrespected the messenger of Islam, the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.”
— aD! (@MrAddii) July 7, 2016
By all accounts, Asad Shah was a respected and well-loved member of his community. He and his family fled persecution in Pakistan and made their home in the U.K. There, he made friends and integrated himself into his new home, as his brother told BBC News.
“[Asad was] “a people person. He always put everyone else ahead of himself. He was very jelled with the community.”
Shah was also active on social media. His final Facebook post, made just hours before he died, read, “Happy Easter to my beloved Christian nation.” He often posted YouTube videos of himself interacting with his beloved customers. In one video, he’s seen cutting a birthday cake for a six-year-old boy whose father had died. Shah’s brother said the shopkeeper did what he could for the family.
“That family was quite down, and my brother was always there for the mother and the little baby and they always kind of picked up their morale.”
— ITV News (@itvnews) July 7, 2016
Unfortunately, it was Shah’s openness and fondness for social media that warped the murderer’s thinking. Shah made no secret of the fact that he was an Ahmadiyya Muslim, which is a minority sect in Islam that holds that the Prophet Mohammed was just one of many prophets. To many Muslims, that belief is blasphemous.
Tanveer Ahmed certainly believed so. When a friend of his showed him Shah’s Facebook posts, Ahmed decided on the spot that Shah deserved to die. In a voicemail message, Ahmed made it clear that he wanted Shah dead for his beliefs.
“Listen to this guy, something needs to be done, it needs to be nipped in the bud.”
On March 24, 2016, Ahmed made the nearly four-hour drive from Bradford, England to Glasgow, 200 miles away, for the sole purpose of killing Shah.
Surveillance camera footage shows what happened in the final moments of Asad Shah’s life. Advocate Deputy Iain McSporran (a court official similar to a prosecutor) said that Ahmed entered the shop and walked behind the counter, where Shah offered his hand in greeting.
“The accused having apparently not received the response he was looking for, reaches into the robes he is wearing and removes a knife with which he attacks Asad Shah, moving behind the counter to do so… Asad Shah attempted to flee his assailant and moved outside the shop but the accused kept hold of him and continued striking him with the knife.”
Ahmed then walked to a bus stop and waited for police to arrest him. Shah, meanwhile, was rushed to a hospital, where he later died of his wounds.
After his admission of guilt, the Judge, Lady Rae reminded Ahmed that religious bigotry is no excuse for murder.
“Let me be clear at this stage, there is no justification whatsoever for what you did.”
As of this writing, it is not clear when Tanveer Ahmed will be sentenced for the murder of Asad Shah.
[Image via Shutterstock/Tawee wongdee]