SACC Statement on the Death of Asad Shah

SACC is deeply shocked at the killing of Asad Shah in the Shawlands area of Glasgow on Thursday.

Asad Shah was an Ahmadi. Police said on Friday that they were treating the incident as religiously prejudiced. A Muslim man is expected to appear in court on Tuesday in connection with Asad Shah's death.

Whatever the circumstances behind this tragedy turn out to be, there is no doubt that Ahmadis are subject to persecution by mainstream Muslims around the world, and especially in Pakistan. Nor is there any doubt that there are tensions between Ahmadi and mainstream Muslim communities in Britain. We offer our heartfelt sympathy to Asad Shah's family and we  stand in solidarity with the Ahmadiyya community. We call on the communities affected to work to eradicate tensions.

We also call on the UK and Scottish governments, and people of all communities, to work to eliminate all discrimination, prejudice and hate arising from religion, ethnicity and community.

Police Scotland has  issued a letter reassuring locals and warning that any "sectarian conflict, hatred or extremism will be dealt with swiftly and strongly." We are puzzled by the reference to "extremism". There are at present no criminal offences concerned with "extremism" and there is no reason to suppose that existing legislation on violence and hate crime is inadequate to deal with the situation. The reference by Police Scotland to "extremism" appears to have no other purpose than to normalise a term associated with the controversial and unpopular Prevent strategy.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, responding to the death of Asad Shah, has urged the government to "root out all forms of extremism". This is likely to be understood as giving support to the Prevent strategy, and may be understood as giving support to the UK Government's proposals for a Counter Extremism Bill. We are opposed to both of these policies.

While we support the call by Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK for action to end hatred directed against their community, we do not believe that the government's counter-extremism policies have any part to play in such measures.