Manchester

Murder arrest after prominent Rochdale mosque member's death

Jalal Uddin Image copyright Ali Ahmed
Image caption Mr Uddin is believed to have been returning from a friend's house when he was attacked

Police investigating the death of a prominent member of a Greater Manchester mosque have arrested a 31-year-old man on suspicion of murder.

The victim, found with a head injury on Thursday in a play area in Rochdale, has not yet been formally identified.

But a Facebook post on Friday from Jalalia Jaamé Mosque said Koran reader Jalal Uddin "passed away last night".

A post-mortem examination of the victim, believed to be in his 40s or 50s, is due to take place later.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Jalalia Jaamé Mosque posted on Facebook that Jalal Uddin had "passed away last night"

The mosque's social media post said: "It is with deep sadness we inform you that our dear Qari Jalal Uddin Saab passed away last night.

"The cause of his death is yet to be confirmed, we recommend that you do not speculate but rather wait for the facts to be established by the police."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Mr Uddin was assaulted between 20:40 and 20:55 GMT

'Murder investigation'

Dobir Miah, chief officer for the Rochdale Council of Mosques, promised to "offer any assistance" to Greater Manchester Police.

"We would like to urge people to please remain calm and be reassured that everything possible is being done to find out what has happened," he said.

"Nothing has been said that suggests there is an immediate threat to people doing their day-to-day activities."

It is understood Mr Uddin was a qari (Koran reader) at Jalalia Jaamé Mosque.

Mr Uddin is believed to have been on his way home from a friend's house when he was assaulted between 20:40 and 20:55 GMT.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Dobir Miah, chief officer for the Rochdale Council of Mosques, promised to "offer any assistance" to Greater Manchester Police

Assistant Chief Constable Rebekah Sutcliffe, who appealed for witnesses, said: "We were called last night just before 9pm to the Wardleworth play zone which is on South Street in Rochdale to a report of an injured man.

"What we have since been able to find out is that an Asian man aged between 40 and 50 has a head injury, we believe, as a result of being assaulted and we are treating that as a murder investigation.

"The investigation is at a really early stage and I must stress that. A man is in custody and has been arrested but at the moment we are keeping a completely open mind as to what the motive for this attack is."

She said that while detectives were looking at the possibility of the incident being racially motivated, "at the moment we just cannot say one way or the other".

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