London: A 32-year-old man who had admitted murdering a Ahmadiya Muslim shopkeeper for what he perceived as disrespect to Islam was on Tuesday sentenced to life imprisonment by a UK court which described the incident as an appalling display of merciless violence.
Tanveer Ahmed, a Sunni Muslim from Pakistan, stabbed Asad Shah outside his store in the Shawlands area of Scotland in March.
The 40-year-old victim, who belonged to the Ahmadiya minority community in Pakistan, later died in hospital. The killer was told on Tuesday, by Glasgow High Court that he would serve a minimum of 27 years in prison.
“This was a barbaric, premeditated and wholly unjustified killing of a much loved man who was a pillar of the local community. He was described as a peaceful and peace-loving man and family man who went out of his way to show respect for those of any faith,” Judge Lady Rae told Ahmed at the sentencing hearing.
She branded the attack as “an appalling display of merciless violence”.
She added, “No-one in any civilised country including Scotland has the right to take the life of another whatever offence that individual perceives that he or she has suffered.
“It is vitally important in modern society that respect and tolerance for others of any race, creed, colour, ethnic origin or religious belief is maintained and protected by the law of the land. I note with considerable concern that you have expressed no remorse whatsoever for this appalling crime.”
At a hearing last month, the court had been told that when Ahmed was interviewed by police he said his actions were motivated by Shah’s “disrespect” towards Muslim faith.
Shah had been granted asylum when he fled violence in Pakistan to join his family in Scotland in 1998.
It also emerged in court 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.
CCTV footage of the attack showed Ahmed pulling a knife out and moving behind the counter and stabbing Shah repeatedly.
Shah was taken to hospital in Glasgow, but despite surgery he could not be saved.
Chief Superintendent Brian McInulty, of Police Scotland, said, “Religious intolerance in any form is simply not tolerated in our society and Police Scotland will work in partnership with our communities to eradicate such behaviour.”...