On Friday 16th September 2016, Mohammed Hussain Syeedy was convicted of the murder of Jalal Uddin following a four week trial at Manchester Crown Court.
Jalal Uddin was a highly respected religious figure within the Muslim community in Rochdale and had been an Imam of the local mosque. He performed a type of faith healing known as Ruqya of which a trend of Islam known as Salafism strongly disapproves. Salafism has influenced the views of ISIS. The prosecution case at trial was that the defendant, on whose mobile telephone and other electronic devices, ISIS associated material was found, had been influenced by those views to take part in a plot to attack Jalal Uddin because of his practice of Ruqya. Prof. Robert Gleave, an expert in the study of Islam, gave evidence on behalf of the prosecution.
The plot involved the defendant and his associates mounting surveillance on Jalal Uddin in the months before his death. Later, on the night of his death, the defendant and another man stalked Jalal Uddin, before the other man attacked Jalal Uddin in a children’s park in Rochdale, bludgeoning him to death with a hammer. Syeedy supplied the weapon and drove the other man to and from the scene of the attack and supported him in the days that followed. The other man fled the UK before he could be arrested.
Syeedy was sentenced by Sir David Maddison, sitting as Judge of the High Court, to imprisonment for life. He will serve 24 years before becoming eligible to apply for parole.
The case attracted substantial national and international publicity from the start and throughout and was the lead story on BBC news reports on the day of conviction. In the aftermath of conviction, the case has provoked a debate about the conflicts between different trends of and practices within Islam.
Paul Greaney QC led Karen Robinson of QEB Hollis Whiteman Chambers on behalf of the Crown, with additional help from James Gelsthorpe of New Park Court Chambers. The prosecuting authority was the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division of the CPS.
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