Counter-terrorism police have been called in to investigate the murder of an imam who was found with a fatal head injury in a children’s play area in Rochdale.
Officers from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit are investigating the death of Jalal Uddin, 64, who died in hospital after being attacked last month.
Detectives from Greater Manchester Police say they are keeping an open mind about any motives.
They said they are continually reviewing the evidence to establish whether the killing was motivated by hate or religious extremism, but there is no evidence to suggest Mr Uddin was killed because he tried to stop youngsters in Rochdale from being radicalised.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “The investigation into the murder of Jalal Uddin is now being led by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit in co-operation with officers from the Greater Manchester Police Serious Crime Division.
“A man has been charged as part of the investigation and the on-going legal process prohibits us from discussing anything that could potentially jeopardise court proceedings. 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 case 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.”
Mr Uddin had visited Rochdale’s Bilal Jamia Masjid mosque and was on his way to visit a friend when he was attacked on 18 February.
Mohammed Hussain Syeedy, 21, has been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. A boy, 17, and a 21-year-old man have also been arrested in connection with the attack.