Prime Minister backs anti-extremism campaign after shopkeeper death

Prime Minister David Cameron has given his full support to a campaign against extremism following the killing of a Muslim shopkeeper in Glasgow.

Asad Shah, 40, was stabbed last month. He was an Ahmadiyya, a group known for its peaceful interfaith concerns.Murder accused Tanveer Ahmed, 32, from Bradford, later said he killed Mr Shah as he falsely claimed to be a prophet.Mr Cameron said there was “a battle within Islam and we have to be on the side of the moderate majority”.Following Mr Shah’s death, Scotland’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community launched a bus poster campaign in Glasgow with the message “united against extremism”.

The initiative was supported by Scottish politicians and police, along with different community and faith groups, including Christian, Jewish and Sikh.During Prime Minister’s Questions, Angus Robertson, the SNP’s leader at Westminster, called on the prime minister to back the campaign.

He said: “It’s believed that the recent murder of Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah was religiously motivated… will the prime minister join me and colleagues of all parties in supporting the aims of this campaign to support and foster understanding and stand up to extremism?”

Mr Cameron replied: “I will certainly join you.”This was an absolutely shocking murder and I think what it demonstrates again, and what your question hints at, is that we need not only to stand up against violence and acts of appalling violence like this but we also need to stand up against the extremist mindset that sometimes tries to justify events like this or other such outrages.”

‘Stand up against extremism’
Mr Robertson also asked the prime minister if he agreed that “the time has come for all community and all faith leaders of all religions to stand up against extremism?”Mr Cameron replied: “I certainly agree that faith leaders can play a huge role in standing up against extremism and I welcome what they do, but again I think we need to be very clear about what we are facing.

“The attack on Ahmadiyya Muslims by other Muslims demonstrates once again that what we face is not some clash of civilisations between Islam and Christianity or Islam and Buddhism.”What we are seeing is a small minority within one of the great religions of our world, Islam, believing that there is only one way, a violent extremist way, of professing their faith.

“This is a battle within Islam and we have to be on the side of the moderate majority and make sure that they win it. We have to really understand what is happening here, otherwise we will take the wrong path.”Mr Shah, who had moved from Pakistan to Glasgow almost 20 years ago, was found with serious injuries outside his shop on Minard Road, in Glasgow’s Shawlands area on 24 March. He was pronounced dead in hospital.

The shop keeper was killed just hours after he posted an Easter message on Facebook to his customers.The message said: “Good Friday and a very happy Easter, especially to my beloved Christian nation.”During the police investigation officers claimed the incident was “religiously prejudiced” and confirmed both men were Muslims.Mr Ahmed has been charged with murder and made two court appearances where he made no plea and was remanded in custody.