Muslim cleric banned in Pakistan is preaching in UK mosques

A Pakistani Muslim cleric who celebrated the murder of a popular politician is in Britain on a speaking tour of mosques. The news has alarmed social cohesion experts who fear such tours are promoting divisions in the Muslim community.

Syed Muzaffar Shah Qadri has been banned from preaching in Pakistan because his sermons are considered too incendiary. However, he is due to visit a number of English mosques, in heavily promoted events where he is given star billing.

Qadri publicly praises Mumtaz Qadri who in 2011 murdered his employer, Salman Taseer, a popular Pakistani politician who spoke out against the country’s blasphemy laws. Qadri was executed earlier this year but to his tens of thousands of supporters he remains a hero who defended their interpretation of Islam.

Mumtaz Qadri was a key influence on Tanveer Ahmed, the Bradford taxi driver who in March stabbed to death Asad Shah. Shah, a member of the Ahmadi Muslim community who ran a convenience shop in Glasgow, was targeted after messages he put out on social media including an Easter greeting to Christians.

His was one of several recent high profile murders in which a Muslim from one community was killed by a Muslim from another community for holding what they considered to be “blasphemous” views. In February, a former Sufi imam in Rochdale was murdered by two Islamic State supporters whom they claimed was practising “black magic”. In May, a Sufi Muslim leader was hacked to death near the north Bangladeshi town of Rajshahi in what police said was an attack by Islamic extremists.

Qadri, considered by many scholars to hold moderate views except on blasphemy, was due to speak at the Falkirk Central mosque in Scotland, but his invitation was withdrawn after a public outcry. However, the Observer has established that he is due to appear at several mosques in England.

The Sunday Post in Scotland reported that Qadri has been labelled a “firebrand” by the authorities in Karachi and barred from preaching his incendiary sermons. He was accused of acting in a manner “prejudicial to public safety and maintenance of public order”. He was banned from addressing crowds in October, according to a legal document seen by the Post.

Haras Rafiq, chief executive of the Quilliam Foundation, said Qadri was the type of preacher who presented new challenges for promoting cohesion in Britain’s Muslim community.

“These are people who may not be extremist in the way that we know Isis or Boko Haram are extremist,” Rafiq said. “But when they apply the blasphemy law to justify the killing of other Muslims for not being the right Muslims then we have a huge challenge. Anybody who supports the murder of another person is dangerous.”

Rochdale Muslims fear fervour of youth spilling into hate and violence

Community leaders paint a bleak picture for young Muslims living in the borough of Rochdale on the outskirts of Greater Manchester. They have grave concerns that Muslim youth are increasingly turning to anti-western sentiment and extreme interpretations of Islam.

In recent months the peace in the narrow streets sitting in the shadow of the impressive Jalalia Jaame mosque has been shattered.

A respected holy man, Jalal Uddin, 71, was stalked and murdered because he was a practitioner of a form of Islamic faith healing called taweez which involved the use of charms to bring good luck, good health and deter evil spirits.

Friends Mohammed Hussain Syeedy, 21, who has been convicted of Uddin’s murder and Mohammed Abdul Kadir, 24, who is the subject of an international manhunt, had been Isis supporters and believed that those who practised taweez should be killed because they considered it a form of black magic, the trial at Manchester crown court heard. The murder of “quiet, dignified and well-respected” Uddin was fuelled by “hatred and intolerance,” the court was told.

It was not the only murder in Britain this year motivated by differing interpretations of Islam. In March, a sectarian dispute in Pakistan was played out on the streets of Glasgow when a taxi driver, Tanveer Ahmed, from Bradford, drove hundreds of miles to stab a fellow Muslim to death.

The simmering hatred towards Britain’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community spilled over into violence the day before Good Friday when Ahmed Shah was brutally murdered in his shop.

Ahmed, a Sunni Muslim, was offended by Shah’s religious proclamations on social media that he was the next prophet of Islam – something some consider highly blasphemous.

New figures given to the Guardian show that sectarian attacks have nearly doubled since last year, with a surge in incidents targeting Ahmadiyya Muslims since Shah’s murder.

The number of anti-Ahmadiyya attacks more than tripled over the last year, from nine to 29, according to the monitoring group Tell Mama. In total, there have been 40 recorded incidents of sectarian violence this year, the figures show, up from 24 last year.

Fiyaz Mughal, the founder and director of Tell Mama, said vulnerable young men were being radicalised online and “absolutely destroying and cannibalising” spiritual elements of Islam, such as taweez and sufism. “Spiritual dimensions of Islam are being eradicated by Salafist, Wahhabist stuff and young mindsets are seeing that as the devil within Islam,” Mughal said.

Ahmadi Glasgow shopkeeper murderer calls on supporters to behead Islam ‘insulters’ via YouTube

A man who said he murdered a Glasgow shopkeeper because of his version of Islamic beliefs has released messages from prison calling on his supporters to kill other “insulters”, say reports on Friday (23 September).

Tanveer Ahmed, 32, stabbed to death Asad Shah because he felt the shopkeeper, who followed the Ahmadiyya brand of Islam, was guilty of “disrespecting the prophet Mohamed”. The Ahmadiyya are accused of not believing Mohammed to be the final Prophet, which many Muslims regard as blasphemous.

Despite his 27-year prison sentence, it has emerged that Ahmed has released a speech on YouTube in Urdu, calling Ahmadi Muslims “frauds” for their beliefs.

He said that he sent Shah “to hell with the help of Allah, the prophet, angels and saints.

“Whoever and wherever is listening my voice must make a resolve to protect the finality of prophethood,” he says.

“We will save the Lord’s followers from going down to the hell – will protect their faith,” the Independent reported.

Margaret Ferrier, the Scottish National Party MP for Rutherglenand Hamilton West,has written to the Scottish Prison Service to demand convicts are not able to broadcast “extremist rhetoric”.

She told the Independent: “It is worrying that the persecution of the Ahmadi Muslim community face in Pakistan appears to now be manifesting itself in the UK.

“The brutal murder of Asad Shah is the only reminder needed that this issue needs to be treated with the utmost seriousness.”

Ahmed will serve a minimum of 27 years in prison for the murder. Sentencing Ahmed at the High Court in Glasgow, judge Lady Rae said he was responsible for the “barbaric killing of a peace-loving man” and “an appalling display of merciless violence”.