Scottish mosque leader praises Pakistani extremist killer

Edinburgh, March 25 (IANS) A religious leader at Scotland’s biggest mosque has praised an extremist who was executed for murdering the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, the BBC reported on Friday.

Imam Maulana Habib Ur Rehman of Glasgow Central Mosque used the messaging platform WhatsApp to show his support for Mumtaz Qadri, who was hanged in February for gunning down Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab province in Pakistan, in 2011.

After shooting Taseer, Qadri reportedly told journalists that he was “proud” and that he had killed a “blasphemer”.

Maulana Rehman in his text said he is “disturbed” and “upset” at the news of Qadri’s execution, before writing “rahmatullahi alai”, a religious blessing usually given to devout Muslims and meaning may God’s mercy be upon him.

In another text, Rehman said: “I cannot hide my pain. A true Muslim was punished for doing which the collective will of the nation failed to carry out.”

Rehman is the most senior imam at Glasgow Central Mosque, a role which involves leading prayers and giving religious guidance and teachings.

Rehman told the BBC: “The assassination of Salman Taseer is widely condemned.”

“Whether I agree or disagree with the views he expressed, as an Imam and as a human being, I express abhorrence at the manner in which he was executed.”

“The execution was not in accordance with Islamic teachings and principles.”

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