A man arrested by police on suspicion of murder following the death of an imam in Manchester has been released.
The 31 year-old was arrested on Friday, but has now been “completely eliminated” from police enquiries.
Jalal Udin was found by members of the public with serious head injuries in a playground in South Street, Wardleworth, Rochdale. He later died in hospital.
Mr Udin was a Qari – a person who recites the Quran - at the Jalalia Jamé Mosque in Rochdale. It is believed that he was attacked on his way home from a friend’s house.
It is currently unknown whether the attack was racially motivated.
A message posted on the mosque's Facebook page reads: "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."
Greater Manchester Police said: “Following the death of a male, who had been found with serious injuries at Wardleworth on Thursday 18th February, a 31 year old male was arrested and interviewed by Greater Manchester Police.”
“This male has now been completely eliminated from enquiries 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.”
Dr Shuja Shafi, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said to the Guardian: “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 a mosque, and we would urge the community to be vigilant and offer support and assistance whilst travelling.”
Detective Chief Inspector Terry Crompton, from Greater Manchester Police’s Serious Crime Division, said to Manchester Evening News: “We have carried out a significant number of enquiries since Thursday evening to establish what happened to Jalal that led to his tragic death, and we are providing support to his family.”
“We are still working to establish the exact circumstances surrounding how Jalal came to suffer his injuries and we are keeping an open mind as to the motivation behind this attack, with a number of lines of enquiry currently being investigated.
“Understandably, news of this attack has caused concern in the local area and we have extra patrols in place to try and reassure the community.
“There has been a lot of speculation on social media about what happened and what may have been the reason for this attack, but I would urge people to refrain from making assumptions and please contact us with any information they have which may assist us.”
Anyone with information can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111