Sturgeon visits mosque to promote tolerance

NICOLA Sturgeon visited the mosque attended by murdered Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah to promote tolerance and understanding.

The First Minister met members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community at the mosque in the west end of the city and said extremists must not be allowed to distort and define a religion.

She met with Rafiq Hayat the President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the UK and others to discuss their concerns following Mr Shah’s killing in March this year.

The shopkeeper was murdered by Tanveer Ahmed, 32, who had travelled from Bradford in Yorkshire to kill the shopkeeper, claiming he had “disrespected Islam”

Ahmed was jailed of life with a minimum of 27 years behind bars.

Ahmadiyya Muslims have differing vies to the majority of Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims believing Mohammad not to be the final prophet.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We have a responsibility to ensure the true meaning and essence of Islam is understood and not the minority who distort the views.

“We need to challenge extremism wherever it occurs and we will not allow extremists to define a faith.

“It is important to send a signal and a message of solidarity to a community that suffered prejudice and in some countries persecution.”

She said that was “brought to light” in Glasgow by “the tragic and horrific murder of Asad Shah.

She added” It is important that we work to promote tolerance, peace, understanding and justice.”

The First Minister met with officials at the mosque for around 15 minutes.

Some held signs stating ‘stop persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan’.

Ms Sturgeon said following the meeting that Scotland was a welcoming country to those willing to promote tolerance and understanding. he First Minister added: “Diversity and difference is not a weakness in society but a strength.”

She added: “There is no place for hate and extremists in this country.”