Scotland

Asad Shah murder: Killer Tanveer Ahmed releases prison message

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Media captionAhmed travelled from Bradford to carry out the killing

An extremist who murdered a Glasgow shopkeeper has released an audio message from jail publicising a controversial religious event in Pakistan.

It is the latest prison recording by Tanveer Ahmed, 32, who stabbed Asad Shah to death at his shop in the south of the city in March last year.

He claimed Mr Shah was a "false prophet" who had "disrespected Islam."

In the message, he urges listeners to attend a conference in Karachi.

The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said it could not comment on individuals.

Ahmed, a taxi driver from Bradford, says in the recording: "I have great restrictions imposed on me in prison but I am not failing to extend this invitation to you."

He also suggests that he has been asked to end his religious connections with Pakistan and talks of being warned by what he calls "agents of infidels".

He adds: "They threatened me and asked me to sever all contacts with these people", before alleging that he has been asked to persuade preachers in Pakistan to stop making provocative speeches about his crime.

No remorse

His previous prison recordings have contained statements of defiance at his life sentence for the murder and derogatory and sectarian references to the minority Ahmadi Muslim community, of which Mr Shah was a member.

In one he suggested he had no remorse over his killing of the 40-year-old, saying: "I stood guard on the honour of Prophet Muhammad and I shall do it again if I shall get a chance."

In another he says: "The penalty for those who insult the prophet: cut their heads from their bodies."

Youtube removed one recording after it violated the video sharing site's policy on hate speech.

Image caption Mr Shah was a member of the Ahmadi Muslim community

Ahmed killed Mr Shah after seeing videos the shopkeeper posted online discussing his faith, believing he was falsely claiming to be a prophet.

He pleaded guilty to the murder last year and is currently appealing to reduce his minimum 27-year jail term.

His messages from prison have been posted on social media platforms and websites based in Pakistan, where many people have expressed support for his killing of Mr Shah, whom they believed to be a blasphemer.

The new audio emerged after an unnamed prison source told the Daily Record that the religious murderer had "turned over a new leaf" and converted to a more peaceful brand of Islam.

The same source said that any new messages from Ahmed were likely to be old.

Glowing tribute

But the latest recording is an invitation to a rally attended by thousands of people at the weekend, where large crowds were addressed by the hardline preacher Khadim Hussain Rizvi.

Rizvi paid glowing tribute to Tanveer Ahmed, saying he "has surprised the whole of Europe."

He went on to say: "They are still at loss to understand why he did it. They were worried to see him totally unmoved about life imprisonment."

Ahmed's new audio message - posted on 27 January 2017 as a video on a Facebook page for Khadim Hussain Rizvi, whom he describes as his "mentor" - has been viewed 53,000 times and shared more than 4,000.

Video of the weekend's rally in Karachi shows large crowds chanting "Labaik Ya Rasool Ullah" or "Here I am present, O Prophet".

Death penalty

The same words were shouted by Ahmed and his supporters at the High Court in Glasgow as he was sentenced to life for the murder of Mr Shah.

And they have become a slogan for the extremist anti-blasphemy movement in Pakistan, where being judged to have insulted the majority religion of Islam or the Prophet Muhammad can receive the death penalty.

Also addressing the rally in Karachi were family members of Mumtaz Qadri, an Islamist extremist who was hanged last year for the 2011 murder of Punjab governor Salman Taseer.

Qadri shot Taseer dead after judging his support for Christians and other minority religious groups in Pakistan to be blasphemous and against Islam.

Thousands attended Qadri's funeral, and many in Pakistan seek to draw parallels between his actions and Ahmed's killing of Mr Shah.

The SPS said it could not comment on individuals but the BBC understands it is collaborating with other agencies to establish exactly what Tanveer Ahmed has been saying from prison and to whom.

Ahmed Owusu Konadu, external affairs secretary of the Ahmadi Muslim Community, questioned why Ahmed was able to get his messages out of the prison.

"We wouldn't expect such a thing to be happening in the United Kingdom," he said.

"If it's been done a few times it's quite bizarre that the authorities haven't taken steps in stopping the messages from coming from the prison.

"Any hate preachers or provocations should be stopped. If it's definitely Tanveer Ahmed and it's definitely from the prison, the prison needs to do more."

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