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Second vigil held for Muslim shopkeeper killed in attack

Published 26/03/2016

Flowers and messages left after shopkeeper Asad Shah died following an attack outside his premises in Minard Road, Glasgow
Flowers and messages left after shopkeeper Asad Shah died following an attack outside his premises in Minard Road, Glasgow

A second vigil has been held for a well-respected Muslim shopkeeper who was killed in what police are treating as a "religiously prejudiced" attack.

Asad Shah was found seriously injured outside his shop in Minard Road in the Shawlands area of Glasgow on Thursday night and pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

Hours earlier he had wished Christians a happy Easter in a social media post, and he had previously appeared to speak out against violence.

A Muslim man has been arrested.

Around 150 people gathered on Saturday in the rain to pay their respects to Mr Shah, 40, as floral tributes continued to be laid close to where he was found.

The event, organised by local teenagers on social media, followed a vigil on Friday night attended by a crowd of around 400-500 people, including Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Aleesa Malik, 17, said: "He (Mr Shah) would take the effort to care for every customer.

"He would want to know how are you, what are you doing. He took an interest in everyone's lives - old, young, anyone.

"You could be any colour, that would not be an issue for him, he just cared too much."

Nabah Younis, 16, said she had been visiting the shop since she was a young girl.

She described Mr Shah as a "lovely guy".

Commenting on organising the vigil, she said: "I just felt for the amount of support Mr Shah gave us - us as in Glasgow, Glasgow had to give something in return, and that is exactly what we are doing."

She said messages of support had been sent on social media from all over the UK, and further afield.

"It feels warmer knowing that there is so much support, from young people to old people, people not even from this area, and people who had not even met Mr Shah," she added.

"The community have reacted - he has brought everybody together.

"Hopefully this is a lesson that we need to stick together."

The teenager called for unity as she addressed those who had gathered for the vigil, before a minute's silence took place.

An Easter greeting from an online account apparently belonging to Mr Shah had been posted on the day he was killed.

The Facebook message read: ''Good Friday and very happy Easter, especially to my beloved Christian nation x!''.

Included in a series of posts and videos on the page in recent days were calls for peace and ''love to all beloved mankind''.

Earlier this month in a video he called for a stop to ''disorder'' and ''bloodshed'' and urged people to live together in peace.

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.''

He went on: ''All religions, including Islam, has failed to create peace and heaven on this earth.''

A 32-year-old man has been arrested in connection with Mr Shah's death.

Police Scotland said: ''A full investigation is under way to establish the full circumstances surrounding the death which is being treated as religiously prejudiced.''

Officers confirmed that both Mr Shah and the arrested man were Muslims.

A steady stream of people arrived at the area throughout Saturday, leaving flowers and cards in front of a sign which said: 'This is not who we are'.

Robert Maitland, who runs a social club close to Mr Shah's shop, saw him the morning of the day he was killed.

"He was a lovely lad," he said.

"I was his first customer every single morning. It is a very sad loss to the community."

Calum McLachlan, 31, who used to live in the area, came to lay flowers.

"I used to live just round the corner so I quite often saw him in the shop.

"He was such a friendly man, he would always shake your hand and ask you how your day was going.

"We just wanted to come and pay our respects because he went above and beyond as a shopkeeper."

Ms Sturgeon, whose constituency covers the area, tweeted on Friday night: ''Moved to be one of hundreds tonight as Shawlands united in grief for Asad Shah and support for his family.''

A fund-raising page set up on the GoFundMe website in support of Mr Shah's family has raised more than £27,000.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: " In the hours since his death, it's already become clear just how loved and respected Mr Shah was.

"Shawlands and the whole of Glasgow has shown that it pulls together in the face of terrible events such as this. I would expect no less of a city which has always shown strength in the face of tragedy."

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