Top expert on Islamist radicalisation is investigated by university for saying slain Muslim shopkeeper was ‘not a real Muslim’
- Researcher Shiraz Maher wrote he does not ‘regard Ahmadis as Muslims’
- Came days after man admitted killing Asad Shah for ‘disrespecting’ Islam
- Glasgow shopkeeper Mr Shah was part of the the Ahmadiyya community
- Maher has apologised for remarks which are being investigated by King’s College London
A top expert on Islamist radicalisation is being investigated for saying that a slain Muslim shopkeeper was ‘not a real Muslim’, it has been reported.
Shiraz Maher, a researcher at King’s College London, wrote on Facebook that he does not ‘regard Ahmadis as Muslims’ – days after a taxi driver admitted killing Asad Shah because he ‘disrespected’ Islam’.
Mr Shah, part of the Ahmadiyya community, was knifed to death in his shop in what was feared at the time to have been a sectarian attack against the peace-loving branch of Islam he followed.
Earlier this month, taxi driver Tanveer Ahmed, accused of his murder, said through his lawyer that he killed the much-loved family man because he had claimed to be ‘a prophet’.
Days later Mr Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, reportedly wrote on Facebook: ‘I really wonder if I’m missing something here but I don’t regard Ahmadis as Muslim.’
According to Richard Kerbaj of the Sunday Times, the Sunni Muslim added: ‘Obviously this does not mean I think they should be persecuted or suffer for their beliefs … yes, condemn the murder and, more long term, suck up the heat out of Muslim hostilities directed towards them but that still doesn’t mean that they should then be accepted as Muslim.’
The newspaper reports that he has since apologised for his ‘ill-advised and misjudged’ comments ‘given the circumstances of Asad Shah’s murder and the political context thereafter’.
He told the Sunday Times that he had often said Ahmadis should not be targeted for their beliefs.
A representative from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK told the Sunday Times that his earlier remarks risked ‘creating division’.
King’s told MailOnline this morning that it is investigating and insisted the comments were his own opinions.
Mr Shah, 40, was killed at his Glasgow shop on March 24 – the day before Good Friday.
Hours before his murder, he had written on Facebook: ‘Good Friday and very Happy Easter, especially to my beloved Christian nation.’
Mr Shah belonged to the Ahmadiyya community, which promotes peace and tolerance but has been persecuted by members of orthodox Islamic sects in Pakistan.
Tanveer Ahmed, 32, remains in custody charged with murder.
MailOnline has made attempts to reach Mr Maher for further comment this morning.
THE ISLAMIC SECT THAT PREACHES LOVE BUT IS HATED AMONG OTHERS
Asad Shah belonged to the Ahmadi Muslim (also known as Ahmadiyya) community, which preaches love and tolerance.
The sect, which has a huge missionary network spreading its values of non-violence, identifies itself as a Muslim movement and follows the teachings of the Koran.
But it is regarded by orthodox Muslims as heretical because followers do not believe Mohammed was the final prophet sent to guide mankind.
As a result, Ahmadi Muslims have been persecuted – particularly in ultra-conservative Pakistan.
It moved its headquarters to Britain in the 1980s and is currently based in Morden, south London.
The reformist movement’s founder was Islamic teacher Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who was born in India in 1835.
The term ‘Qadiani’ is a derogatory religious slur at Ahmadi Muslims. The Ahmadiyya community preaches ‘love for all, hatred for none’.
But its members are despised as non-Muslim blasphemers by some in the Islamic world.
The Tahaffuz Khatme Nubuwwat movement is a community section which believes Ahmadis are blasphemers. It was born in Pakistan and says it aims to unite Muslims around the world.
However, its failure to tolerate other religions and non-believers has seen violent attacks on other Islamic sects and Christians.
Its website states: ‘After the creation of Pakistan, the founder and pioneer chief of the Majlis, unequalled orator and great Islamic leader, Sayed Ataullah Shah Bukhari (May Allah’s mercy be upon him) detaching himself from all the political preoccupations, along with all his comrades, devoted his life for the preaching of Islam and refutation of Qadianiat (The movement of the repudiators of the belief in the finality of the Holy Prophet).
‘In Pakistan and many other countries Qadianees have been segregated from the Muslim and have been proclaimed as Non-Muslims.’
The organisation, which has offices in London, also states it exists to ‘educate’ Muslims about the ‘reality’ of the Ahmadiyya community, which it does not agree with.
It says the Ahmadi belief that there were prophets after Mohammed is ‘false’, describing their faith as ‘heretic’.