Vigil for shopkeeper killed in 'religiously prejudiced' attack


Hundreds of people have gathered for a silent vigil to honour a respected shopkeeper killed in what police are treating as a "religiously prejudiced" attack.

Asad Shah, 40, was found seriously injured outside his shop in Minard Road in the Shawlands area of Glasgow on Thursday night.

He was taken to the city's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital but pronounced dead on arrival.

A 32-year-old man has been arrested in connection with his 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."

Both Mr Shah and the arrested man were Muslims, officers have confirmed.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined an estimated crowd of 400-500 people on Friday evening for the vigil to show solidarity and remember Mr Shah.

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

Those attending were encouraged to bring a daffodil. Many laid flowers and lit candles during the gathering.

One of the vigil organisers, Eildon Dyer, said: "It was very respectful. There were a lot of people clearly very upset. There were a lot of tears and lots and lots of flowers.

"Everybody has said he was the nicest man. He was clearly much-loved. Everybody had nice stories to tell about him and warm stories. It's just very, very sad."

Ms Dyer, 58, who helped to organise the event on social media with Nisreen Sharif, 56, said: "Both of us have lived in this area for a long time and immediately this became known it was obvious the effect it was having on people.

"We felt the potential for something like this could be to divide a community and really what we wanted to show was a community standing together, which is in fact what happened because there were people from all different backgrounds who were there.

"As well as being a good tribute to Mr Shah I would say it was a good symbol of the community coming together."

Also at the gathering were Scottish Government minister Humza Yousaf and Glasgow City Council leader Frank McAveety.

Mr McAveety tweeted: "Emotional vigil outside Mr Shah's shop as the community pay their respect #thisisnotwhoweare"

Mr Yousaf said on Twitter: "When our city is hurting the people of Glasgow wrap their arms round each other. Proud of Glasgow tonight x"

Residents in the area have described Mr Shah as a "pillar of the community".

An online posting on Thursday, apparently from Mr Shah's Facebook account, stated: "Good Friday and very happy Easter, especially to my beloved Christian nation x!"

Earlier on Friday, people arrived at the police cordon surrounding the shop - Shah's Newsagent and Convenience Store - to lay tributes.

Isabella Graham, 64, said Mr Shah employed her daughter at the shop when she was younger and she cried when she called her to tell her the news.

She said: "He was an amazing, wonderful man, he couldn't do enough for you.

"He wouldn't hurt anybody. Nobody in Shawlands would have a bad word to say about him. I can't believe he's gone."

Mrs Graham, who placed flowers at the scene with her granddaughter, said Mr Shah's family had run the shop for as long as she had lived there, for more than 16 years.

One card left at the cordon read: "Thank you for being the nicest guy on the planet."

Another read: "A good man, much loved and a pillar of the community. You'll be sorely missed."

The Rev Val Duff, minister of Shawlands linked with South Shawlands Parish Church, said: "Like many people I am deeply saddened to hear of Asad Shah's death. He was obviously a deeply loved man in our community."

Police found Mr Shah seriously injured after they were called to Minard Road at 9.05pm on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a fund-raising page set up on the GoFundMe website in support of Mr Shah's family raised more than £13,000 by the end of Friday.