THE crime has already been condemned. Now Scotland’s tiny Ahmadi community wants to hear condemnation of the hate they believe provoked it.

One of their fellow worshippers, Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah, is dead. A man charged with his murder has made what legal experts call a remarkable declaration. Tanveer Ahmed said Mr Shah had “disrespected” Islam. “If I had not done this, others would,” he proclaimed through his lawyer.

Mr Ahmed’s extremist views have sent a shiver through Ahmadis in Scotland, in Pakistan and elsewhere.

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News: Central Mosque leader calls for tolerance of minority Ahmadis amid accusations of "hate preaching"

But they chime with deeply bigoted attitudes to the sect, which has suffered persecution ever since its birth in British India nearly 130 years ago.

As previously reported an extremist group called KhatmeNabuwat, which has a base in London, has appeared to celebrate Mr Shah’s murder. Senior Muslims late last month joined together to condemn the killing of Mr Shah, who, as an Ahmadi would not be seen by some conservatives as a true Muslim.

But Scottish Ahmadis want more: they want to hear mainstream Muslim leaders, including the Sunni Deobandis who dominate Scottish mosques in Glasgow and Edinburgh, distance themselves from the underlying attitudes.

Picture: Scottish Ahmadi leaders Ahmed Owusu Konadu and Abdul Ghaffar Abid raise concerns at a Glasgow press conference

HeraldScotland:

In an official statement, the Glasgow-based Ahmadi group Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Scotland, said: “We urge all religious bodes, especially all Muslim leaders and Imams to come out in public and condemn the statement made by Tanveer Ahmed, so that all Muslims know this is never accepted in Islam.

“This will go a long way to eliminate all extremists.”

It is a direct and pointed appeal to mainstream Islam to dial down rhetoric which Ahmadis believe can create a climate of prejudice.

The fundamental difference between Ahmadis and Sunnis is that the former believe their founder, Victorian-era Indian religious leader Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was a mahdi or messiah.

Pictured: Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

HeraldScotland:

Sunnis argue that the Koran marks the final word of the prophet Mohammad. Many Muslims see Ahmadis in the way that mainstream Catholics or Church of Scotland leaders would see Mormons and wish them no harm. Others, however, see the sect as dangerous heretics.

Mr Ahmed, in his statement, insisted the Koran was the “final word” on Islam and that Mr Shah was falsely claiming to be a prophet. This echoes more extreme views on Ahmadis which the sect itself says stems from hate preaching.

KhatmeNabuwat associates have toured British mosques, including in Scotland. Abdul Ghaffar Abid, regional president of the Ahmadis, said: “The root cause of the crime should be condemned; not only the crime.

“Historically, these mosques have been the centre of the preaching of hate, so they cannot deny that. They should say they will not do it again.”

Mr Ahmed, from Bradford, had no association with Glasgow Central Mosque, pictured below, Scotland’s biggest single place of worship of any faith.

HeraldScotland: Exterior of the Glasgow Central Mosque Photo: Stewart Attwood

The mosque, however, has been at the centre of concerns over ultra-orthodox views in recent months.

Its president, Shafi Kausar, said he had no recollection of KhatmeNabuwat figures visiting the mosque, although this has been reported in the Pakistani press. Speaking to The Herald, Dr Kausar took a highly conciliatory line on the faith.

Dr Kausar, seen as relatively conservative, stressed that there was no reason to attack those who did not agree that the final word. He said: “We are not going to have any quarrel with anybody whether they believes in finality or not.

“Lots of people don’t. Christians, Jews. Sikhs, lots of Muslims are now non-believers. That is for them and the creator, not me.

“We are now all living under the shadow of this murder. Glasgow used to have its own sectarian problems but we want no part of that. As our imam says, nobody is allowed to take the law in his own hands.”

The Herald View: Intolerance must be opposed on all fronts

Statement from Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Scotland

Tanveer Ahmed said Mr Shah disrespected the Prophet of Islam and Islam.

This is deeply disturbing and sets and extremely dangerous precedent, as it justifies the killing of anyone - Muslim and non-Muslim whom an extremist considers to have shown disrespect to Islam.

In some countries Amadiyya Muslim members, Christians and people of other faiths are routinely attacked and murdered by extremists for accusation of blasphemy.

Such killings are completely against the teaching of Islam.

We must not let the same mindset of hate and violence take root here in Glasgow and for that matter UK or any where in the world.

The community urges the Government and law enforcement agencies to take all possible measures to root out all forms of religious hatred, intolerance and sectarianism. If extremists are given a free hand, we will come to see the same levels of religious hatred and persecution here in the UK that we see in some Muslim countries.

We urge all religious bodes, especially all Muslim leaders and Imams, to come out in public and condemn the statement made by Tanveer Ahmed, so that all Muslims know this is never accepted in Islam. This will go a long way to eliminate all extremists.

Statement from solicitor Aamer Anwar, who has advised Glasgow Central Mosque liberals

The freedom to exercise religion is a fundamental human right. Despite increasing pressure on Islamic groups to call the Ahmadiyas ‘Muslims’, nobody can force them to do so.

For example if a Catholic priest was asked whether Joe Blogg’s followers would be considered Christians after he called himself the new messiah. The answer would be no but despite theological differences in our jurisdiction religious groups are free to call themselves whatever they want.

HeraldScotland: Aamer Anwar warns of "climate of fear" in Muslim community

The fundamental problem is the rank hypocrisy and repeated failure by various UK Islamic groups to vociferously condemn the systematic persecution against the Ahmadiya community or others.

If there is truly a respect for the right to life then it must be said unequivocally, there can be no ifs, no buts where the sanctity of life is concerned.

The Herald's page one on Tanveer Ahmed's declaration

HeraldScotland: