Counter terror specialists have been called in after Islamic State (IS) material was found in raids on premises linked to men arrested in connection with last month’s death of a Manchester-based Imam.
Imam Jalal Uddin (pictured), a respected elderly gentleman from Rochdale, near Manchester, was murdered after leaving a mosque on the 19th of February this year.
He is reported to have worked hard to draw young local Muslims away from radical Islam and terrorism, presenting a possible motivation for IS sympathisers to murder him.
Immediately after the killing there were calls for “emergency security precautions” for the local Muslim community, apparently fearing “islamophobic” attacks from white racists.
The Times newspaper was criticised by the Police and local MP for referring to Rochdale as a “sex grooming town” in their coverage of the murder.
The article, referencing “far right groups such as the EDL”, fed speculation that the attackers had targeted a Muslim in revenge for the organised child rapes in the town by Muslim gangs. Police said the grooming was “irrelevant”.
— Simon Danczuk (@SimonDanczuk) February 20, 2016
However, such fears were shown to be misdirected after three Muslim men of Bangladeshi origin were arrested on suspicion of the murder.
Mohammed Hussain Syeedy, 21, of Ramsay Street, Rochdale, has been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. A 17-year-old and a 21-year-old, both unnamed, have also been arrested.
The investigation is now being led by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, assisted by detectives from Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP) Major Incident Team, since the terrorist material was discovered, the Manchester Evening News reports.
A GMP statement said: “The investigation into the murder of Jalal Uddin is now being led by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit in cooperation with officers from the Greater Manchester Police Serious Crime Division.
“Whilst the investigation is yet to establish a firm motive for the murder, the NWCTU are better placed to provide the expertise necessary to successfully investigate this crime and any associated offences.
“The investigation team continues to remain open as to the reasons why this tragic incident occurred but we are continuously reviewing the evidence to establish whether this killing was motivated by hate or religious extremism.”
Paying tribute to his father, Mr Uddin’s son said: “He was a selfless man of principle, who always strived to do the right thing.
“For the community, it is a great loss to lose such a soul. With his extensive knowledge of Islam and his ability to share this knowledge, he captured the hearts of the old and the young, truly making a difference in people’s lives.”