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Friends, Strangers Raise $123,000 For Family Of Man Killed In ‘Religiously Prejudiced’ Attack

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 28/03/2016 Jesselyn Cook

Thousands of people from around the world have united to raise more than £86,200 (or around $123,007) in a matter of days for the grieving family of Asad Shah, a shopkeeper in Glasgow, Scotland, who was brutally killed on Thursday. 

Shah, 40, died from his injuries after he was stabbed in what Scottish police are calling a "religiously prejudiced" attack. A 32-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the death. Both Shah and his alleged assailant are Muslim, BBC reported.

On the day of the attack, Shah had posted a message on Facebook wishing his "beloved Christian nation" a happy Easter and Good Friday. 

Community members mourned Shah in two separate vigils over the Easter weekend in Glasgow's Shawlands district, where his shop is located. Hundreds of people came to pay their respects, including Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon. 

Jen Bannerman, a woman who says she regularly visited Shah's shop and knew him well, set up an online fundraiser with her friends to support the family he tragically left behind. 

"He was a warm and [friendly] man and he always went out of his way to make time to talk to you -- he was more than just our local shopkeeper. He was a friend to many," Bannerman wrote, noting all funds raised will be transferred to Shah's family soon. 

"We know money will never make up for his loss," she wrote, "but this is our way of showing our support for him, and showing his family how much he was cared for in our [community]." 

As of Monday afternoon, more than 4,000 friends and strangers had donated to the fundraiser. Several people left touching messages about Shah. 

"I don't know why or how anyone could ever want to hurt you, you were the most gentle, loving, compassionate and happy person I've ever known," wrote a donor named Jonathan Shirley. "I used to come into your shop for my gran to pick up messages for her and no matter how long I hadn't been in for you'd always remember me."

Beyond Shah's friendly nature, many people remembered him for his dedication to his faith and his religious tolerance.

"We spoke a number of times about faith and it was always very clear that his Islamic faith meant the world to him," wrote Graham Richmond, another donor. "However, it was also very clear that he had deep respect for the faith of others, an attitude that is a lesson for everyone in this city where religious intolerance borders on a national sport at times."

Two days after Shah was killed, Humza Yousaf, Scotland's only Muslim minister, tweeted a damning message about sectarianism. 

Support for Shah and his family has also flooded Twitter in the days following his death. The hashtag #ThisIsNotWhoWeAre was created to honor Shah's legacy of respect for people of all faiths and religions.

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