Asad Shah Murder: The Disturbing Support For ‘Blasphemy’ Killing In A British Court


Back in April I reported on the tragic murder of Asad Shah, a Muslim shopkeeper from Glasgow. The usual regressive types could barely contain their excitement when faced with the prospect of an ‘Islamophobic’ hate crime. They lost all interest as soon as it was revealed that the attacker was also a Muslim, strangely. Just like they did with the Murdered Imam from Rochdale.

The victim and their attacker did not know each other. Shah’s killer, Tanveer Ahmed travelled from Yorkshire to Scotland solely to carry out what has been described as an ‘execution’.

Shah, an Ahmadiyya Muslim, regularly posted video ‘sermons’ online. Ahmed deemed Shah to have ‘disrespected the prophet Muhammad’ in these videos. “Listen to this guy. Something needs to be done. It needs nipped in the bud” Ahmed was reported to have said whilst watching the clips on his train journey.

When Ahmed arrived in Scotland, he confronted Shah at his Glasgow shop then stabbed him several times with a knife, leaving him for dead.

What was also deeply disturbing about this brutal act of violence was the lucid, righteous justification Ahmed gave for his actions in an April court hearing. Read Ahmed’s statement below and see if you can pin down any ideological motivation:

“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. Mr Shah claimed to be a Prophet.

“When 1400 years ago the Prophet of Islam Muhammad peace be upon him has clearly said that ‘I am the final messenger of Allah there is no more prophets or messengers from God Allah after me.

“‘I am leaving you the final Quran. There is no changes. It is the final book of Allah and this is the final completion of Islam. There is no more changes to it and no one has the right to claim to be a Prophet or to change the Quran or change Islam.’

“It is mentioned in the Quran that there is no doubt in this book no one has the right to disrespect the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and no one has the right to disrespect the Prophet of Islam Muhammad Peace be upon him.

“If I had not done this others would and there would have been more killing and violence in the world.

“I wish to make it clear that the incident was nothing at all to do with Christianity or any other religious beliefs even although I am a follower of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him I also love and respect Jesus Christ.”

Happily, Ahmed was sentenced to life in prison today, but not without further incident that should give cause for concern. Not only does this killer still consider his heinous actions justified, but a number of other Muslims appear to share his view too, vocally demonstrating their solidarity with the now convicted murderer in court. According to Sky News:

James Matthews, Sky News’ Scotland Correspondent, said: “Inside court, a section of the public gallery was filled by supporters of Tanveer Ahmed.

“As he was led away from the dock he faced them, raised his hand to the air, and shouted in Arabic.

“One told Sky News he said: ‘Muhammad is the prophet, he is the only one’.

“They returned the sentiment, with a collective voice, as the killer was forced down stairs into the holding cells beneath court.”

And when a member of that support group was confronted outside and asked whether he thought the sentence was fair, he responded with “no”:

Let me spell out what is happening here. A particular group of people experience no fear, shame or reluctance sitting in a British court in 2016 and openly supporting the murder of an innocent man for ‘blasphemy’. These people do not arise from a vacuum. They are a product of deeply conservative Muslim communities.

Apologists for Islamic violence have long been able to convince people that a conservative, Islamist interpretation of Islam is adhered to only by a fringe minority, a minority which we are told is also loathed by the general Muslim population. That may be true of course, but it’s fast becoming an unconvincing narrative given the data.

This narrative becomes even harder to cling to when you have to explain the open support or lack of unconditional condemnation for such acts from within Muslim communities.

Asad Shah was an Ahmadiyya Muslim. One of the most persecuted minority sects within Islam. I say ‘within Islam’, but the majority of Muslims would accept no such categorisation. The Ahmadiyya are mostly considered heretics and Shah himself had fled Pakistan in the 1980s to escape persecution. My guess would be not from ‘new atheists’.

It’s worth noting that not a single Muslim group managed to attend an interfaith, anti-extremism memorial for Mr Shah – with one Muslim group notable for cancelling at the last minute.

It’s also worth noting that many a “Muslims doing good” puff pieces in the media are often actually reports about the deeds of Ahmadiyya Muslims, a largely peaceful sect. From selling poppies for British soldiers, to attending Catholic Mass in France to show solidarity with concerned Christians after Father Jacques Hamel was slaughtered by Islamists.

It’s the height of hypocrisy then, when so-called ‘moderate’ Muslims throw Ahmadiyya Muslims under the bus, affirming their heretic status, but are quick to claim them as one with the Ummah as soon as they generate politically useful press.




The groups and individuals that did have the good sense to openly condemn this violence also couldn’t resist pointing out that Ahmadiyya are not true Muslims either – further feeding into the mentality that sees them persecuted and killed in some Muslim majority countries. This is the sort of sentiment that is shared by those distributing ‘kill Ahmadis’ leaflets in UK Mosques.

Yet again, Islamic fundamentalists are behaving appallingly in Europe whilst spelling out in no uncertain terms why they are behaving this way. I’m not sure how much longer the left and Muslim communities can afford to pretend they can’t hear.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.


  • Considering how much our free speech has been eroded in Europe, how can someone still distribute “kill X” leaflets without being prosecuted? That must be hate speech and an illegal threat for full measure. Why not just raid the place and take people to court?

    • Pirkka, it’s “Our” free speech that has suffered restraint, not “Theirs”.
      I despise the us vs them narrative, but it honestly does feel that way when government and media constantly refer to the general public as two separate entities. Muslims and non-Muslims.
      I’ve never heard a politician or journalist use the term non-Christian, non-Hindu, non-Jewish, non-Budhist.

      The governments of the Western world know exactly what is going on.
      The question is, are they so stupid that they couldn’t have predicted it long ago, or did they orchestrate it.
      I find it hard to believe our privately schooled elite leaders are stupid.

  • It’s good to see that the secular law has doing its job and stamped on this appalling crime. The Ahmadiyya community need our support against the bigots who persecute them, both here and in Pakistan (where the bigots include the government).

    But Douglas Murray’s anti-Muslim pieces for The Spectator are not always the best reference source on which to base a judgement on attitudes among British Muslims, who are very diverse (ethnically probably the most diverse set of Muslim communities in the world, albeit 50% Pakistani/Bangaldeshi in origin).
    The only estimate I’ve seen of the number of Ahmadiyya Muslims in France ( suggests there are only around 1000 of them in total, compared to 30000 in the UK. If so, it seems pretty unlikely that they accounted for all the Muslims who turned up at French church services in solidarity following the awful Islamist murder of the elderly priest, as Douglas Murray suggests.
    Most Islamist terrorists are inspired by the IS Salafist-type of back-to-basics extremist Islam. Muslims from Pakistan and Bangladesh are usually either Deobandis – quite an austere form of Islam – or Barelvis, which is a more mystical, Sufi-type. But Mumtaz Qadri, the body-guard who murdered Salmaan Taseer (the Pakistani minister who had had the temerity to suggest toning down their dreadful blasphemy laws), was a Barelvi. Several prominent British Barelvis showed sympathy for Qadri and outrage when he was executed for the murder. Mohammed Shafiq was among them. Tanveer Ahmed was apparently also a Barelvi ( Some Barelvis seem to have a particular sensitivity to anything deemed as disrespecting the prophet, especially following the Taseer murder – we are seeing spill-over from Pakistan.
    The data link is to another Douglas Murray article which refers to Trevor Philips’ Channel 4 programme and the associated survey data. However, both the article and the programme used the data selectively to support his point about poor integration of Muslims in Britain. The survey results, which included refence base case data, ran to 600 pages. Here’s an analysis of key points from the data showing the spectrum of views that the survey actually demonstrated: Yes, there are some worrying items here, but also some good news. For instance, about 50% of British Muslims want to integrate fully with non-Muslims. Some of the issues reported here, and reported elsewhere, such as ‘honour’ crimes, are as much or more to do with culture and ethnic tradition as religion.

    Of course we must challenge Islamist ideology, and anything and anyone seeking to erode hard-won rights and values, including idiots such as Mo Ansar (on second thoughts, probably better to ignore him as he loves publicity). And we must fight terrorism and come down hard on violence, such as this murder of an innocent shopkeeper. Yes, it’s right to challenge silence on this incident from senior figures in the Muslim communities.
    But there are 2.7 million British Muslims, all individuals with their own aspirations and concerns, 85% of whom feel a strong British identity. We all need to strive to make our plural society work peacefully. In my view, that means promoting secularism – which in turn means defending freedom of belief and expression, provided it does not erode the rights of others; educating each other so we understand where people are coming from; and perceiving people with different beliefs as fellow human beings, good and bad – the best way to do that being through direct dialogue and encounter. The Douglas Murray black and white model – Ahmadiyya good, others bad – is, I think, simplistic and therefore unhelpful.

    • ” 85% of whom feel a strong British identity”

      If we were talking about a bunch of white males, this kind of nationalism would be seen as a bad thing. I don’t see this a good thing.

      Also Douglas Murray is one of the few sensible people talking about the muslim issue in Europe nowadays.

      I would be careful with demonizing him; you might not like who will replace him in the near future.

      • Not demonising him, just pointing out evidence of selective use of the facts (barely facts in the case of French Ahmadiyyas dominating the church visits) to bolster his falsely black-and-white view of the issue.

      • Describing ‘feeling a strong British identity’ as worrying nationalism is the sort of nonsensical self-hate Orwell identified in the British left 80 years ago and which still appears to be current.

    • “Yes, there are some worrying items here, but also some good news. For instance, about 50% of British Muslims want to integrate fully with non-Muslims.”

      Think its safe to say we disagree on what constitues good news. A mere 50% of Muslims are ignorant, bigoted scum, fantastic!

      • “A mere 50% of Muslims are ignorant, bigoted scum, fantastic!” Ignoring the “stones and glass houses” aspect of this comment, here are the actual numbers form the survey:
        I would like to fully integrate with non-Muslims in all aspects of life – 49%
        I would like to integrate on most things, but there should be separation in some areas such as Islamic schooling and laws – 29%
        I would like to integrate on some things but I would prefer to live a separate Islamic life as far as possible – 17%
        I would like to live in a fully separate Islamic area in Britain, subject to Sharia Law and government – 1%
        Don’t know – 9%

        I’m afraid the facts don’t support the 50% ignorant scum comment. Do you agree?

        • I agree, there is no support for the “ignorant scum” comment. However, I am not sure the data support “good news” either. As one who tries to parse out the “truth” from all available data, the general breadth of survey data, from within Muslim communities in the West or in predominantly Muslim countries, (recognizing a REAL problem of underrepresentation of opinion from all Muslims exists by virtue of many Countries not allowing any survey research AT ALL) is not encouraging on the support for secularism and the adoption of civil liberties. In fact, it is worrisome in the extreme. The integration question is so crucial in this debate as we who want to preserve our liberal values must come to terms with the likelihood that they will be eroded from within by non integrating Muslims with profoundly un liberal views slowly transforming society by the ballot box. Islamist Terror may preoccupy us at present, but Murray’s immigration concern should as well. We don’t have to hate people that have different views about how to organize society, but we also should not capitulate to their non democratic, non liberal, non secular world view out of “respect” for their religion. In a liberal democracy, your right to practice your religion ends when you impose you world view on my freedoms, This IS NOT the organizing principle in Islamic countries who organize the law around Koranic codes and theological based rules. I do not want to live that way.

          • I agree completely that we have to be very robust in defending liberal values and promoting secularism (which in my view is essential for a peaceful plural society). But I think we have to keep this in proportion: 95% of the British electorate is not Muslim (despite population growth, the forecast by 2050 is still 90%). Among the 5% who identify as Muslim, a significant proportion share liberal values. While Muslim votes are concentrated in certain areas, the chances of “un-liberal views [in Muslim communities] slowly transforming society by the ballot box” at a national level therefore seems very remote.

            On the other hand, there are threats to liberal values from the extreme Right and Left that we also need to guard against. Sadly, the tone of one or two of the comments here (not yours!!) suggests that liberal values are not as firmly anchored in the mainstream as some of us like to think.

            The best antidote to fear and bigotry in my experience is actually to get out and talk to real people who are different. It’s invariably a surprise, and usually a pleasant one. We’re all humans.

        • Prejudice based on the Muslim/non-Muslim label is bigotry. Moral ignorance is implicit in that. Scum is subjective. I’m sticking by it.

          Back on the specific original topic, surely this lack of integration contributes to scenes inside and outside the court.

          • If calling 50% of all 2.7 million British Muslims “ignorant, bigoted scum” isn’t an example of ignorance and bigotry, I don’t know what is.

            Yes, indeed, the fact that there are people who sympathise with this murderer is appalling, and a symptom of lack of integration and an inability, or unwillingness, to reconcile a certain type of Islamic fanaticism with a plural society. This mindset has got a lot worse in Pakistan in recent years and we’re now seeing its reflection here.

          • “If calling 50% of all 2.7 million British Muslims “ignorant, bigoted scum” isn’t an example of ignorance and bigotry, I don’t know what is.”

            If not wanting to integrate with infidels doesn’t do it for you, how about the murder of Asad Shah?

            I appreciate some may prefer softer language, I’d argue that just contributes to chutzpah shown in the court.

          • I condemn unreservedly those who support this murder and do worry about lack of integration. But baseless generalisations about whole groups of people, in this case 50% of British Muslims, is bigotry.
            Not only is it factually incorrect, insulting, dehumanising and likely to make the issue of social integration worse rather than better, but it’s exaclty the sort of “us versus them” thinking that the jihadis love.

          • 50% of Muslims respond to poll with prejudiced view.

            I call that bigotry, and I’m the problem, staggering.

          • But they didn’t. Read the post with the data.

            The defintion of a bigot is ” a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance”. So I’m afraid calling an entire, diverse group of over a million British Muslims “ignorant, bigoted scum” is, by definiton, bigoted. Of course, that may be fine.

          • 50% of responders to that poll said they would treat Muslim and non-Muslims differently. Very simple bigotry.

            Sure there is plenty diversity in the KKK, thats a terrible argument.


        • 30 per cent want their own laws? 1% want a completely separate state within a state. To me, that’s worrying, Im not going to give labels but I hardly think thats a model of a tolerant group.

          • 29% said “I would like to integrate on most things, but there should be separation in some areas such as Islamic schooling and laws”, so it doesn’t say whether 30% want their own laws or just want their own schools or both or some mix.

            But 45% agreed with “I would prefer to send my child to a school with strong Muslim values” and in a ComRes poll for the BBC after the Charlie Hebdo shootings, 31% said “I would like my children to go to a Muslim state school if I had the choice”. So it’s clear that the 29% at least refers to schools. My guess you’d get a similar answer from British Catholics – not good in my view, but a different issue. Whether some or all of these people also want their own laws is impossible to say from the data.

            The ComRes poll also asked about whether Muslims should always obey British laws, and 93% agreed. But that’s not quite the same thing.

            The more worrying information in terms of integration is that 17% said “I would like to integrate on some things but I would prefer to live a separate Islamic life as far as possible” and 1% even said “I would like to live in a fully separate Islamic area in Britain, subject to Sharia Law and government”. So that’s around 20% of British Muslims who don’t want to integrate, or around 1% of the British population as a whole. A smallish minority, but still over half a million people who will, I assume, tend to live in a small number of areas. That’s the challenge. And among the best people to help address it are other British Muslims, as well as the rest of us in terms of fighting prejudice so that integration, especially of Muslim women, is easier.

          • Yes, it’s worrying. Question is what to do about it. Recent report from committee of women MPs makes some good points

    • You say “85% of whom feel a strong British identity” does that strong British identity include using violence against those who criticise or insult their prophet or Islam as reported in an opinion poll of British Muslims by ComRes on behalf of BBC Radio 4 Today program dated 25 February 2105, about 5 weeks after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
      This survey shows that a quarter of all British mulsim believe that violence against those insulting Islam and Muhammad (don’t forget they choose what is insulting) – “However, two thirds (68%) say acts of violence against those who publish images of the Prophet can never be justified while a quarter (24%) disagree”. You say there are 2.7 million muslims living in the UK well very between 648,000 and 675,000 muslims who are prepared to use violence to silence anyone who is critical of Islam.
      “One in four (27%) British Muslims say they have some sympathy for the motives behind the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.”
      “Half (49%) believe Muslim clerics preaching that violence against the west can be justified are out of touch with mainstream Muslim opinion, while 45% disagree.” So 1,215,000 muslims in the UK believe that clerics preaching hatred of the west and everything we stand for are mainstream. With all those Imams preaching hatred what do you think those who hear them are going to start believing, if they don’t already.
      How many Police Officers and Soldiers do we have in this country?

  • We removed our blasphemy laws some years ago, and rightly so, however they have reappeared as anti-sematism, islamaphobia and hate crime. We are going backwards, so it should come as no surprise when someone uses them as an excuse for murder.

  • You are doing god’s work here, Stephen (forgive the expression).

    I love the way you expose the hyporcritcal shitheads like Mo Ansar and the other assholes who call themselves “moderate muslims”.

    Your writing should get more exposure.

  • Just think for yourselves and try to be reasonable. You can recognise the truth if you make the effort, even though you do not like it. Just now the muslims are doing most of the raping and killing, so they are not welcome anywhere. And the West has to stop bombing Muslim countries it only makes things worse. The best and cheapest solution is to bring all of our forces home and just close the borders to muslims, and send those already here back to the Islam that they so love.

    • 1. The West are not ‘bombing countries’ – these are UN Security Council sanctioned interventions and ISIS targets. Please stop with this silliness 2. How is raping a child in Sweden/women in Germany/assassinations in Scotland /rape in refugee camps IN ANY WAY retaliation with said bombings? Get a grip on logic people. Stop blaming ‘The West’ for this. It’s the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ – invoking this (frankly) racist view of the world makes to part of the problem. But I do agree. Send these cowards HOME to defend their country and fight their OWN religious sectarian bullshit wars.

      • In most cases this is “their country”. And in most cases the Islamist terrorists create a huge problem for fellow Muslims, who despise them. IS wants to stimulate hatred and prejudice against Muslims – it feeds their us and them narrative. We shouldn’t let them get away with it.

  • The murder was worse than you say. After Shah stumbled outside, Ahmed stamped on his face, leaving no bone in his face unbroken.

  • Really good work GS. The Mo Ansar section deserves a piece all of it’s own. Thanks.

  • Muslims, all of them, are only loyal to Islam and Sharia. They have no respect for us, our laws and our traditions. they should not be allowed to live in our countries. Sharia Law:
    The penalty for theft
    Theft (stealing) is a hudud crime in sharia, with a fixed punishment. The punishment is cutting off the hand or feet of the thief.
    The penalty for apostasy
    The punishment for apostasy is thought to be death by several schools of Muslim thought.
    An example apostate was Hashem Aghajari, who was sentenced to death for apostasy in Iran (in 2002) after giving a controversial speech on reforming Islam. His sentence was reduced to 5 years in prison, but only after international and domestic outcry.

    • The death for apostasy thing is throughout Islam. Sahih bukarih – the most authentic of the collections of hadith says ” if someone loses their Islamic religion, then kill him”

      • Yes, some version of that (usually with an opportunity to see the light) is I believe in all four of the Sunni schools of sharia.

  • The penalty for zina
    Sharia law states that if either an unmarried man or an unmarried woman has pre-marital sex, the punishment should be 100 lashes.[8][9] There are some requirements that need to be met before this punishment can happen. For example, the punishment cannot happen unless the person confesses, or unless four eyewitnesses each saw, at the same time, the man and the woman in the action of illicit sex. Those who accuse someone of illicit sex but fail to produce four eyewitnesses are guilty of false accusation and their punishment is 80 lashes.[10] Maliki school of sharia considers pregnancy in an unmarried woman as sufficient evidence that she committed the hudud crime of zina.[11][12] The Hadiths consider homosexuality as zina.[13]

    • Here’s a list of the 18 Muslim majority countries. Very few of them are democratic and almost all extremely unattractive places to live from a western perspective. But please indicate how many of them apply the huddud punishments you’re talking about. Saudi is one, maybe Iran, that’s two, then….:

      Indonesia Indonesia 204,847,000 (87.2%[78])
      Pakistan Pakistan 178,097,000 (96.4%)
      Bangladesh Bangladesh 145,312,000 (90%)
      Iran Iran 74,819,000 (99.6%)
      Turkey Turkey 74,660,000 (98.6%)
      Egypt Egypt 73,746,000 (90%)
      Algeria Algeria 34,780,000 (98.2%)
      Morocco Morocco 32,381,000 (99.9%)
      Iraq Iraq 31,108,000 (98.9%)
      Sudan Sudan 30,855,000 (97%)[79]
      Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia 30,770,375[80] (99.9%)
      Afghanistan Afghanistan 29,047,000 (99.8%)
      Uzbekistan Uzbekistan 26,833,000 (96.5%)
      Yemen Yemen 24,023,000 (99.0%)
      Syria Syria 20,895,000 (92.8%)
      Malaysia Malaysia 17,139,000 (61.4%)
      Niger Niger 15,627,000 (98.3%)
      Somalia Somalia 10,864,733 (99.9%)

  • “We found that laws restricting apostasy and blasphemy are most common in the Middle East and North Africa, where 18 of the region’s 20 countries (90%) criminalize blasphemy and 14 (70%) criminalize apostasy. While apostasy laws exist in only two other regions of the world – Asia-Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa – blasphemy laws can be found in all regions, including Europe (in 16% of countries) and the Americas (29%).”

    For the death penalty”

    “There are 13, and I almost have them memorized because I don’t want to be executed. Let’s see how well I can do without Googling:

    Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria, Oman, Yemen, Malaysia, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE. ”

  • A 2007 poll found that 36 percent of young British Muslims thought that apostates should be killed. A 2008 YouGov poll found that a third of Muslim students claimed that killing for religion can be justified, while 33 percent expressed a desire to see the return of a worldwide theocratic Caliphate.

    Not surprising,the importing of Muslims and their lack of self restraint and bending backwards to accommodate their sensitivities has led to this. A visit to Kings’ College London anytime during the past decade shows this was a long time coming.

    • Here is a summary of the latest, and probably best quality, poll of British Muslims available, published earlier this year:

      7% support principle of Caliphate, while 67% oppose.
      24% say use of violence to protect religion is ok, while 57% oppose (compared to 80% of control group who oppose)

      So there’s a worrying minority, but it is a minority. Essential to avoid generalising – huge diversity. Really worth talking to some real Muslim Brits.

  • Once again the narrative is that the vast majority of muslims are peaceful and law abiding and it is a true narrative but irrelevant and here is a video explaining why.

  • Pingback: Demos’ Flawed research Into ‘Islamophobia’ On Twitter | Godless Spellchecker's Blog

  • Pingback: Jalal Uddin: Rochdale Imam Murder Update | Godless Spellchecker's Blog

  • An absolute monstrosity. There are swathes of the Muslim community that are complicit in facilitating the hatred that led to this murder.

  • I wish to express my gratitude to everyone who contributed to this discussion. It is interesting to note that when the Muslim, Human Rights lawyer for Scotland, Aamer Anwar, urged the disparate Muslim sects within the UK to join together to fight extremism in relation to the Asad Shah murder, he got death threats and promptly shut up. How very unusual… on both counts.

What do you think? Leave some comments!