Police have confirmed that the main suspect in the murder of an elderly imam in Rochdale in February has managed to escape the UK. Investigations are believed to be looking into the possibility the killing was a deliberate “hit”.
64-year-old Jalal Uddin (pictured), a former Imam of Bangladeshi origin, died in hospital from head injuries shortly after being found in critical condition in a pool of his own blood in a children’s playground. Yesterday police detained three men in relation to his death but confirmed that the prime suspect has left the country, reports The Guardian.
A Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said: “We can confirm that officers investigating the murder of Jalal Uddin have identified a man they wish to speak to in connection with the incident. Efforts by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit to trace the man are currently ongoing.”
As we reported in March, the investigation is led by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, assisted by detectives from Greater Manchester Police’s Major Incident Team — a decision taken following the discovery of Islamic State material in raids on premises potentially linked to the killing.
One 24-year-old man was arrested yesterday on suspicion of arranging funds for terrorism, another 28-year-old was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder, and the third man, aged just 21, answered bail to be questioned further on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder.
Mohammed Hussain Syeedy, 21, of Ramsay Street, Rochdale, was previously charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder, and appeared at Bury Magistrates’ Court on 29 February, when he was remanded. He is due to appear at Manchester Crown Court on 22 August.
A 17-year-old boy was also arrested, on 22 February, on suspicion of murder. He answered bail earlier this month to be bailed again until June.
It is understood the police are investigating the possibility that Mr. Uddin’s death was a deliberately targeted “hit” and that some of those arrested, as well as others who have been questioned, had links to a charity in Syria.
As Breitbart London previously reported, the former imam is said to have worked hard to draw young local Muslims away from radical Islam and terrorism, presenting a possible motivation for Islamist sympathisers to murder him. His son previously described him as “a selfless man of principle, who always strived to do the right thing.” He added:
“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.”