Faith groups from across Scotland have helped launch a campaign promoting peace, love and unity in the wake of the death of shopkeeper Asad Shah.
Mr Shah, 40, an Ahmadi Muslim, died after an attack outside his Glasgow store last month.Tanveer Ahmed, 32, from Bradford has appeared in court accused of his murder.The religious community Mr Shah belonged to has now launched a bus campaign aimed at tackling extremism. The Ahmadi sect of Islam has faced persecutions around the world from other Muslim groups.
The two-week campaign involves 50 buses in Glasgow and 25 each in Dundee and Edinburgh carrying banners with the message “united against extremism” and Ahmadiyya Muslim community motto “Love for all, hatred for none”.Different faiths, including Christian, Jewish and Sikh, joined for the launch in Glasgow yesterday along with politicians and police officers.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Scotland president Abdul Abid said the campaign has been running in London and the Scotland launch was moved forward following Mr Shah’s death. He said: “We want to reassure people and to discourage the extremists by showing that we are united. We want to increase the awareness of Islam and reverse the misconceptions.
“People in other communities have given their support for this campaign and it shows that we stand united.”Mr Abid said Mr Shah had donated money for a previous bus campaign raising awareness of the Ahmadiyya community, an Islamic sect which moved its headquarters to the UK after a law in Pakistan banned its members from identifying themselves as Muslims and calling their places of worship mosques.
Paul Morron, president of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, is backing the campaign. He said: “I think it’s important for all the communities to be united but even more important that they are seen to be united.“The purpose of extremism is to cause division and I think the response is for us to come together. We in the Jewish community stand shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim cousins.”
Charandeep Singh, general secretary of Glasgow Gurdwara, said he hoped the campaign would help get the anti-extremism message across.He said: “It’s important that we are coming out with these types of messages.“It’s a message we support and believe in and it’s very warming for me to see different faith communities come together to support this.”