British police leading cleric murder inquiry
British counter-terrorism police are leading an investigation into the murder of Syrian-born cleric Sheikh Abdul Hadi Arwani.
48-year-old Arwani, who was married and had six children, was found dead in a parked car in Northwest London on Tuesday morning. He had suffered bullet injuries to his chest.
Awani had said that he was forced to flee Syria in 1982 after being sentenced to death. It is believed he studied in Jordan before coming to Britain in 1996.
The motive behind the killing remains a mystery.
Police say they are keeping “an open mind” and examining a variety of possible motives, but said that counter-terrorism detectives were “now carrying out the investigation because of their expertise in the management of investigations with international dimensions and an established liaison network abroad.”
Arwani’s family say they do not know what is behind the killing. His 20-year-old son Morhaf said, “My family and I have been in a state of shock ever since we learned of this terrible news. We have not slept and our minds are a blur as to what happened and why.”
Arwani, was a preacher at the An-Noor Cultural and Community Centre in West London, from 2005 to 2011.
In a statement, the centre said, “We have with great sadness heard of the unfortunate death of Sheikh Abdul Hadi Arwani who was the former imam of the An Noor Cultural and Community Centre. He will be sadly missed.”
There have been reports Arwani had been forced to resign because of “extremist links.”
The An-Noor centre itself is known for controversy, and has hit the headlines before.
A post-mortem examination on Arwani’s body is due to take place on Thursday.