The son of a respected imam murdered by Islamic State supporters fears terrorist sympathisers are radicalising young people in Rochdale while posing as charity workers.
Saleh al-Arif spoke out after Mohammed Syeedy, 21, was jailed for 24 years for the murder of Jalal Uddin, 71, who was bludgeoned to death in a children’s playground in February.
Arif said: “I spoke to some members of the community. They are really worried about IS supporters. They believe there are a lot of supporters in the Bengali community. From the outside, it’s like they are doing something good, charitable work and other things.
“They believe they are just trying to make a good impression and they are radicalising the young people in the community and they simply don’t want to see that. They are very scared and they believe they have some kind of link with IS. They just want to get rid of it and they want help from the police.”
Uddin was murdered by Syeedy and Mohammed Abdul Kadir, 24, because the elderly scholar practised a form of Islamic healing called taweez, which is denounced as black magic by Isis and some hardline Salafi Muslims.
The trial at Manchester crown court heard that Syeedy, Kadir and their friends surveilled Uddin for 18 months before he was murdered on 18 February. Kadir is being sought by police after flying to Istanbul, Turkey, three days after the killing.
In an interview with Sky News, Arif said he believed there were others who “knew what’s going to happen” to his father, although they did not participate in the attack.
“Someone should be keeping an eye on these people. It should be investigated properly,” he said, while also praising the police investigation.
He described his father, who had seven children, as “the best dad in the world”.
“He was very religious, very peaceful and very knowledgable. He had no political views but he had strong religious views and what he believed he tried to practise it to the death,” he said.
In a victim impact statement read to court on Friday, Arif said his father told him two days before he was killed that he planned to return to Bangladesh later this year for the first time in 15 years.
Uddin had not seen his wife, children or grandchildren since he left Bangladesh for Britain in 2002.