Man held over fatal attack on religious leader eliminated from inquiries


A man arrested after a Muslim religious leader was left for dead from a brutal attack while walking home from a mosque has been released by police.

The 31-year-old suspect was questioned by detectives in Rochdale investigating after Jalal Uddin died in hospital from serious head injuries after being assaulted in a children's playground on Thursday night.

Muslims have been asked to remain calm amid fears of a racist attack on Mr Uddin, who was well known as a prayer-leader or Qari, at his local mosque.

Today Greater Manchester Police said the man initially held has now been released without charge.

In a statement on their Facebook page they said: "This male has now been completely eliminated from inquiries and it is confirmed has had no involvement whatsoever in the tragic death of the deceased.

"Specialist resources from the major incident team have been tasked with the continued investigation."

Detectives say a racist motive for the murder has not been ruled out but they are keeping an "open mind" as to the motive.

Local religious leaders have called for calm, asked police be allowed to do their work and for locals not to speculate what prompted the attack.

Dr Shuja Shafi, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain said: "We pay our deepest condolences to his family, friends and the community in Rochdale, for the loss of a man who played a significant role within the community and will be sorely missed.

"It is not the first time that an imam has been murdered whilst on the way home from mosque, and we would urge the community to be vigilant and offer support and assistance whilst travelling".

It is thought Mr Uddin, whose family is understood to be in Bangladesh, was on his way home from a friend's house, after earlier visiting a mosque, when he was assaulted between 8.40pm and 8.55pm on Thursday.

It is believed he was taking a short cut through the playground on his way home after eating dinner at the friend's home.

He was taken to hospital but died shortly after from his injuries. Police have not yet formally identified the victim.

He acted as a Qari, or a reciter of the Koran at the Jalalia Jaame Masjid mosque in Rochdale.

A visible uniformed police presence remains in Rochdale as detectives continue their investigation.