10 August 2016

The blasphemy connection

We know that Tanveer Ahmed, the killer of Glaswegian shopkeeper Asad Shah, was entirely unrepentant for his actions.

As he was led away after sentencing, he raised a clenched fist and shouted loudly: "Praise for the Prophet Muhammad, there is only one Prophet." Some of his supporters responded by raising their fists and repeating the phrase. Confronted by a reporter outside the court, his family were clearly unwilling to condemn the murder.

So are these people extremists? Well, alarmingly enough, no, they're not. They're Barelwis, a South Asian Sunni movement generally viewed as moderate compared to, say, Deobandis.

They oppose the Taliban. Yet, within this group, hard-line views on punishment for whatever they perceive as blasphemy are commonplace. Secunder Kermani for Newsnight makes the Pakistan connection: [Mick Hartley] Read more