The shameful story of Britain’s backdoor blasphemy laws

Mar 13, 2023 by

by Tom Slater, spiked:

Liberal cowardice has fuelled Islamic intolerance – and cost lives.

Asad Shah. The name doesn’t mean much to people in Britain today. But it really should. Shah was a Glasgow shopkeeper, beloved by his Shawlands community. The 40-year-old was also a bit of an amateur YouTuber. He uploaded hundreds of videos, forever perched behind his shop counter, in which he preached peace, love and unity. In one clip, he can be seen helping a six-year-old cut a birthday cake, along with the boy’s mother. Shah had known the boy, and his mother, since he was a baby. Even after the family moved away, celebrating the boy’s birthday in Shah’s shop was still an annual tradition. Shah was also an Ahmadi, belonging to a small Muslim sect deemed to be heretical by many Muslims, because Ahmadis believe that Muhammad isn’t the final prophet. Shah, in some of his videos, even suggested that he himself was a prophet. For making and publishing those videos, Asad Shah lost his life. In the most barbaric fashion imaginable.

At 9pm, on 24 March 2016, Tanveer Ahmed entered Shah’s newsagents carrying a knife. The 31-year-old cab driver had travelled to Glasgow from his home in Bradford, incensed by Shah’s claims to holiness. Ahmed had left a friend a voicemail, saying: ‘Listen to this guy, something needs to be done, it needs to be nipped in the bud.’ He attacked Shah, stabbing him repeatedly in the head and upper body. Shah tried to escape outside. Ahmed followed. He repeatedly stamped on Shah’s head, shattering almost every bone in his face. As his victim lay bloodied and still, Ahmed walked into a bus shelter and waited for police to arrive. He told the cops, as they moved to apprehend him: ‘I have nothing against you and so I am not going to hurt you. I have broken the law and appreciate how you are treating me.’ But Ahmed remains unrepentant about his crime. During his trial, he put out a statement: ‘This all happened for one reason… Asad Shah disrespected the messenger of Islam, the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.’ Ahmed is now six years into a life sentence.

I thought about Shah in recent weeks, as the goings on in Wakefield began to emerge.

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