Religiously Motivated Crimes Such as the Murder of Asad Shah Require Appropriate Punishment


The Henry Jackson Society welcomes life imprisonment for Tanveer Ahmed, Asad Shah’s killer.

Asad Shah was killed because his murderer held a fundamentalist Islamist ideology which demanded death as the punishment for blasphemy, which Mr Ahmed believed Mr Shah to have committed. This is part of a broader pattern of religiously motivated Islamist killings. The Charlie Hebdo murders were another example of the enforcement of blasphemy law, but recent years have also seen other kinds of religiously motivated killings in the UK, including “honour” killings, as examined in this report by The Henry Jackson Society.

The Henry Jackson Society welcomes the life sentence given to Mr Ahmed, which represents the reasonable and proportionate secular law which individuals like Mr Ahmed attempt to destroy.

Associate Director of The Henry Jackson Society Douglas Murray said: “Mr Shah was an Ahmadiyya (Ahmadi) Muslim, a member of one of the most persecuted sects within Islam. The Ahmadiyya are probably the most peaceable sect within Islam, formally rejecting the concept of Jihad. It was Ahmadiyya Muslims who paid for the bus adverts a few years back saying that Islam had ‘love for all, hatred for none’.  Ahmadiyya Muslims have also sold poppies for the Royal British Legion and contributed in many other public ways as well as private ways, to life within the UK. Mr Shah was by all accounts a wonderful and peaceable man who was granted asylum in Britain after having to flee persecution in Pakistan.  That he was murdered for blasphemy on the streets of Britain is a terrible thing for our country. It will be some consolation to Mr Shah’s family as well as the wider community that his killer has received life imprisonment.”

Notes to Editors:

The Henry Jackson Society is a think tank and policy-shaping force that fights for the principles and alliances which keep societies free – working across borders and party lines to combat extremism, advance democracy and real human rights, and make a stand in an increasingly uncertain world.  Henry Jackson Society research and events provide key analysis and insight to policy- makers and the media.

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