This past weekend has marked the holiest days in the Christian calendar, which includes the commemoration of Christ’s Crucifixion on Good Friday, and which culminates today on Easter, marking His Resurrection from the dead.
A Muslim shopkeeper in Glasgow, Scotland, recognizing the week’s importance to the Christians in his adopted nation, posted the following on his Facebook page on Friday:
It was the last message Asad Shah ever posted to his Facebook page. Hours later he was stabbed to death by another Muslim enraged by the message of peace. A friend of the Shah family, Mohammed Faisal, witnessed the horrific killing as well as the attack made on Asad Shah’s brother, who was next door when the assault began.
“The brother dragged Mr. Shah away but the guy continued attacking with the blade. They struggled up to the bus stop where Asad collapsed. It was just a clear-cut revenge attack. For posting messages about peace, messages about greeting fellow Christians and Jews,” said Faisal. “That man must not have been too happy about what he was doing, what he was preaching. It was a well-planned attack. He must have been an extremist.” It was also reported that the killer, a 32-year-old who is now in custody, was seen laughing while sitting on Asad Shah’s bleeding chest.
Shah, 40, a native of Pakistan, was thought to be a member of a little-known sect of Islam called the Ahmadi movement, or the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which promotes non-violence and toleration of other faiths. It was founded in the 1800’s by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a Punjab living in British-ruled India, who claimed to have been chosen by Allah to reform the cultural decline he saw in traditional Islam. Ahmadiyya is persecuted in Pakistan by traditional Muslims, so much so that the sect’s headquarters is now in London.
Asad Shah had a YouTube channel and posted many videos promoting peace among people, including one made this past month which called for an end to “disorder” and “bloodshed,” and in which he also said, “All the religions failed to create peace and heaven on this earth, now the situation is very critical. My dear beloved all mankind we were not created to see this kind of situation on this earth.”
Here is a poignant video that he posted this past January:
He was beloved in his local community in Glasgow — so beloved that two vigils were held for him, one on Friday and a second on Saturday. Tributes on Twitter were made under the hashtag #ThisIsNotWhoWeAre.
— The Daily Record (@Daily_Record) March 25, 2016
— Umar Ansari (@uansari78) March 25, 2016
— susan macgregor (@soozie_sue) March 25, 2016
On this holiest of weekends for me as a Christian, I am saddened that a man who loved his adopted nation of Scotland, a man who truly sought to ‘coexist’ with others who did not share his religion, would die simply for expressing his heartfelt desire for peace.