Manchester

Jalal Uddin: Imam murder suspect denies IS link

Jalal Uddin Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption Jalal Uddin was found with a serious head injury in a children's play area and later died in hospital

A man accused of murdering an imam has told a jury he is not a supporter of the so-called Islamic State (IS).

Mohammad Hussain Syeedy, who denies murdering Jalal Uddin in Rochdale in February, told Manchester Crown Court he does not sympathise with IS.

Mr Syeedy, 21, of Ramsay Street, Rochdale, denied supporting the group's "ideologies", "ways" or "actions".

The Crown claims he played a key role in helping Mohammed Abdul Kadir, 24, bludgeon to death 71-year-old Mr Uddin.

The prosecution alleges the pair developed a hatred of the victim, believing him to be performing "black magic" because of his practising of Ruqya healing, which involves the use of amulets known as taweez.

It is claimed they supported IS and sought to punish Mr Uddin with death for this practice, in line with the group's beliefs.

The Crown claims Mr Syeedy intentionally assisted and encouraged Mr Kadir, driving him to and from the park on the day of the killing.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Uddin suffered injuries to his head and face in the attack, thought to have involved a hammer

Mr Syeedy, a former Manchester United steward, said: "I certainly do not sympathise with Isis.

"I do not support any of their ideologies or their ways and their actions.

"I think what they are doing is absolutely wrong, I don't agree with innocent people dying," he added.

The engineering student admitted he disagreed with Mr Uddin's beliefs but when it came to punishment, he told the jury he "had no authority" and it was "up to God".

'Wacky ideologies'

He said he agreed with a plan hatched among his friends to try to deport Mr Uddin and wanted to hold a seminar to inform the community about his use of taweez.

Three days after the killing, Mr Kadir, of Chamber Road, Oldham, flew from Manchester to Copenhagen in Denmark and on to Istanbul, the court was told.

Agreeing with his barrister that it appeared Mr Kadir was responsible for the murder, Mr Syeedy said he did not consider him a friend but "just a guy I worked with".

He told the jury that Mr Kadir had some "wacky ideologies" but "would never share his views" or "openly say anything."

Colleagues at the Rochdale takeaway where they worked would "take the mick", saying he "supports Isis" and had "weird images and videos on his Facebook page", he told the court.

Mr Syeedy said he was driving around Rochdale with Mr Kadir on the night of the murder after meeting him to find out why he was not regularly attending a study circle that Mr Syeedy had help to set up.

The prosecution alleges the pair were stalking Mr Uddin and went to Mr Syeedy's house to pick up the murder weapon, but Mr Syeedy said he returned home for his phone charger.

He told the court Mr Kadir wanted to get a taweez from Mr Uddin to show to members of the mosque committee and that he went into the park with this purpose.

Mr Kadir later "popped out" from a side alley with his hood up and said he had walked off empty-handed after spotting "a few guys" in the park, Mr Syeedy said.

"Not a single thought came into my head it was Kadir. There was nothing strange about what he was doing", he told the jury.

The trial continues.

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