High profile Muslim lawyer gets death threats from Islamic extremists after calling for unity

AAMER Anwar says he’s been afraid to leave his house, after the killing of a Glasgow shopkeeper and a reforming row at Glasgow Central Mosque.

A TOP human rights lawyer has been targeted by Islamic extremists over his call for Muslims of all communities across Scotland to stand up against terrorism.

Aamer Anwar said the threats came from individuals who have taken issue with his call for Muslims of all backgrounds and denominations to stand up together against Islamic extremism.

Glasgow-based Anwar said he cannot reveal “specifics” of the threats against him because they are being probed by police, but said he “presumed” they came from Islamic extremists.

Anwar’s call for unity followed terror attacks around the world including in Brussels and Lahore, and the killing of Asad Shah, a Scottish member of the minority Ahmadi sect within Islam.

As well as the killing of Mr Shah, Glasgow Central Mosque has had to deal with a public falling out between a reforming faction, including Anwar, and more conservative, traditional leaders.

The row was set aside in the aftermath of Mr Shah’s killing in the south side of the city, as the whole Muslim community came together with leaders of the Ahmadi community in a public show of unity.

The event, arranged by Anwar with support from Police Scotland and other community leaders, took place against the backdrop of allegations that GCM leaders had links with Islamic extremists – which they have denied.

Anwar told the Sunday Herald: “Over the years I have been subjected to all sorts of serious threats which I have deliberately avoided talking about publicly.

“But this week was the final straw, being made to feel that my life was as at risk and I should be silent because I have a young family – this is not how I want to live my life.”

He added:“When you walk out of the house and give your children a hug and a kiss, you do find yourself wondering, ‘is that the last time I’ll see them?’ I did that the other night because I was scared. In my head I thought anything could happen and to live with that is extremely difficult.”

The lawyer has taken on a number of high-profile cases, including representing the family of murdered Indian waiter Surjit Singh Chhokar, the case of Sheku Bayoh, the Fife man who died in police custody , as well as a number of terror suspects.

He also made an urgent call for abuse of others leading muslims including Imam Maulana Habib Ur Rehman – who has been accused of sending a Whatsapp message showing his support for Mumtaz Qadri – to stop.

Qadri was executed in Pakistan in February for killing former Punjab governor Salman Taseer.

Imam Maulana Habib Ur Rehman has insisted his comments were taken out of context, and on Friday Police Scotland confirmed that they are no longer investigating.

Anwar added: “The fact is that there is an empathy between me and the Iman because in fact I was horrified by the abuse that he too has received. There are a small number of individuals who claim they are against extremism, then want to attack and violently abuse an individual – that is nothing to do with Islam. Words can incite violence, can cost lives.”

He welcomed GCM’s “courage and responsibility” in coming together to show a united front against extremist on Thursday.


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