Both sent their apologies at the last minute

A religious group organizes a campaign against [religious?] extremism, and the invited Muslim groups don’t attend.

Ahmadi Muslims in Scotland have launched an anti-extremism campaign following the death of the Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah, despite the failure of other prominent Muslims to attend the event.

Representatives of the Glasgow Central Mosque and the Muslim Council of Scotland were invited to attend the launch alongside other faith groups, but the Guardian understands that both sent their apologies at the last minute.

The event’s organiser Ahmed Owusu-Konadu said: “We are undertaking this campaign as part of our stand on the rejection of all forms of extremism and as a message of solidarity with all who have been its victims, including Asad Shah, and others in Paris, Turkey, Brussels, Pakistan, Nigeria.”

Abdul Abid, president of the Ahmadiyya community in Scotland, admitted he was disappointed that other Muslim leaders had not attended the launch. Representatives of Glasgow’s Sikh and Jewish communities and the Church of Scotland’s inter-faith group were all present, alongside local politicians, representatives of Police Scotland and Glasgow’s lord provost.

The choice of victims hints that it’s Islamist extremism that the campaign is addressing. It’s sad that representatives of the Glasgow Central Mosque and the Muslim Council of Scotland failed to grab the opportunity to distance their branch of Islam from the Islamist branch.

Abid said: “We are not asking them to stand united in faith with us but to stand united against extremism. If Glasgow Central Mosque is against extremism, they should be here today.”

And you would think they would want to, because why would they want to stand united with Islamists?

Police Scotland are investigating alleged links between the head of religious events at Glasgow Central Mosque and a banned sectarian group in Pakistan. A recent BBC investigation claimed that Sabir Ali was president of Sipah-e-Sahaba, a militant political party that has accepted responsibility for deadly sectarian attacks against Shia Muslims and Ahmadiyya minorities in Pakistan, and was banned by the Home Office in 2001.

Following Shah’s death, Aamer Anwar, one of Scotland’s most outspoken Muslim reformers, helped to broker a unique event where representatives of Sunni, Shia, Ahmadi and Pakistani Christian communities shared a platform for the first time, and vowed to stand shoulder to shoulder against extremism.

At the time, Anwar said: “A very small minority of the community may think it’s OK to meddle in the cesspit of violent extremist politics in Pakistan, but we are united in saying that we do not want to import sectarian violence that has caused so much division and so much bloodshed to our community or to our streets.”

He has since received death threats himself, which are under investigation by the police.

Because life just isn’t fun enough without violence and bloodshed every few days.

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