Most Londoners feel grateful to the “corner mini-marts” that are usually open till late in the night, on Sundays and during bank holidays. These stores are usually run by British people of Pakistani origin. And thus the cold blooded murder of such a store owner, Asad Shah, last week for allegedly greeting his fellow countrymen “Happy Easter” was seen with horror.
Shah was part of the British Ahmadiyya Muslim community. Ahmadiyyas believe that God sent Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, as a Prophet, like Jesus, to end religious wars. They condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace. Shah had moved to Scotland from Rabwah in Pakistan in 1990.
Just before the Easter break, Shah posted a message of goodwill on Facebook: “Good Friday and very Happy Easter especially to my beloved Christian nation! Bismillah… Lets Follow The Real Footsteps of Beloved Holy Jesus Christ (PBUH) And Get The Real Success In Both Worlds xxxx.” The Shah family, true to Ahmadiyya tradition, embraces both the sanctity of religion and government by becoming righteous souls as well as loyal citizens. Shah was being generous and universally appealing by wishing his customers and community a “Happy Easter”, for which it appears he was stabbed about 30 times and died before reaching the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, and others attended an organised silent vigil of unity and remembrance outside “Shah’s Newsagent and Convenience Store”. The police say the murder was “a religiously prejudiced attack”. One Tanveer Ahmed, believed to be a Sunni Muslim, has been arrested and charged. He remains in custody pending the hearing. Police are forensically investigating a Volkswagen Passat, an Uber taxi, registered in Bradford to establish if this was the transport vehicle. Uber says the vehicle has a registered driver but was last used commercially on 21 March.
On 25 March, a GoFundMe account was set up by Jen Bannerman to support the Shah family, and till Thursday 5pm GMT, £109,510 has been raised by 5,564 friends and customers in six days.