Former Manchester United steward guilty of Isis-inspired murder of 71-year-old Rochdale imam

Syeedy acted as getaway driver for the man who bludgeoned Jalal Uddin to death in a children's play area

Samuel Osborne
Friday 16 September 2016 15:08 BST
Undated handout file photo issued by Greater Manchester Police of Mohammed Syeedy, 21, who has been found guilty by a jury at Manchester Crown Court of the murder of Rochdale imam Jalal Uddin, 71
Undated handout file photo issued by Greater Manchester Police of Mohammed Syeedy, 21, who has been found guilty by a jury at Manchester Crown Court of the murder of Rochdale imam Jalal Uddin, 71 (PA)

Mohammed Syeedy has been found guilty of murdering Rochdale imam Jalal Uddin.

The 21-year-old was consumed by hatred for the 71-year-old imam because he practiced a form of Islamic healing which the Isis terror-group consider to be “black magic”.

Syeedy acted as getaway driver for another man, Mohammed Kadir, 24, who bludgeoned Mr Uddin to death in a children's play area on the early evening of 18 February, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Jalal Uddin was murdered by two Isis supporters who said his practice of Islamic healing was ‘black magic’
Jalal Uddin was murdered by two Isis supporters who said his practice of Islamic healing was ‘black magic’ (PA)

Kadir, who fled the UK three days after the killing, is thought to be in Syria.

Mr Uddin was defenceless as he was dealt at least five savage blows with a blunt weapon, thought to be a hammer, shortly after he entered the park in South Street, Rochdale.

The swift and ferocious attack smashed his skull and drove a piece of bone into his brain.

Their victim was targeted after it was discovered he was providing “'taweez”, in which he made amulets to bring good fortune to the wearer

Mr Uddin was the former imam of Rochdale’s Jalalia Jaame Mosque
Mr Uddin was the former imam of Rochdale’s Jalalia Jaame Mosque (Google)

Syeedy was involved in months-long surveillance of Mr Uddin and along with Kadir stalked their prey after he left the Jalalia Mosque to go to a friend’s house for an evening meal

The Crown said Syeedy was a “knowing participant” in the murder and his claim he had no idea what Kadir, an Isis supporter and ex-John Lewis call centre worker, planned and then carried out was “absurd”.

Syeedy may even have provided the murder weapon, which has not been found, the jury heard.

When police searched the defendant’s family home in Ramsay Street, they discovered a large volume of Isis-related material on his phone and other devices, which the Crown say clearly showed he had been radicalised.

Photographs showing Syeedy and friends raising Isis-style index finger salutes and holding Isis flags were also found, the court heard.

In a bedroom wardrobe, investigators also found various patches, flags and a headband, all said to have contained jihadist symbols.

Also recovered from the defendant's iPhone was footage of Mr Uddin lying on the ground and close to death in South Street, said to have been filmed by a local teenager.

Giving evidence, the Rochdale-born Muslim said he was not a follower of Isis and was “disgusted” about the death of Bangladeshi national Mr Uddin.

However, Syeedy told the court he did not agree with “taweez” and admitted he was involved in a plan to deport Mr Uddin, a former imam at the Jalalia Jame Mosque in Rochdale, for overstaying his visa.

When that failed, he said he turned his attentions to exposing Mr Uddin’s practices and said Kadir, of Chamber Road, Oldham, entered the park in a bid to dupe him into giving a taweez, which could then be presented to the mosque committee.

Syeedy picked him up from the other side of the park and then, he said, later drove to Oldham to persuade Kadir to go to the police after he told him he left empty-handed when he saw two men nearby Mr Uddin.

Prosecutor Paul Greaney QC said his version of events was “nonsense” and that he was just as much a killer as Kadir.

Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Manchester-based Ramadhan Foundation, welcomed the sentence.

He said: “We welcome the conviction of Mohammed Hussain Syeedy and hope that the family will take some comfort from this. We further hope that the main culprit Muhammad Kadir is found and also held responsible for his actions.”

“Rochdale has been blessed with the presence of Qari Jalal Uddin, he changed lives for the better and was a towering figure from our community. He showered love on all and did not deserve to be brutally murdered.”

He added: “The Muslim community in Rochdale will need to come together to address what I believe are important issues that if no action is taken; we may see such tragedies again.

“Rochdale has been challenged again and again and we have remained united regardless of faith or ethnicity. We will not allow anyone to divide our town and we pay tribute to Greater Manchester Police, Rochdale Council and the Crown Prosecution Service for their work in getting justice.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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