Wembley murder: Son of victim Abdul Hadi Arwani said family are ‘at loss to understand’
- Credit: Archant
The son of a Muslim preacher who was shot dead in Wembley yesterday morning has said his family are “at a loss to understand” what took place.
Abdul Hadi Arwani, an outspoken critic of the Assad regime in Syria, was found dead in a car parked in The Paddocks at the junction off Greenhill, yards from the Brent Town Hall building.
Speaking outside his home in East Acton, west London, his son Morhaf Arwani, 20, said: “We are at a loss to understand what is behind this. At the moment we know as much as you do.
“The local community will be gathering at 7pm this evening at a location in Park Royal but the media are not invited.
“They can ask questions to those who attended outside if they wish.”
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Police were called to reports of a man with gunshot injuries to his chest at 11.15am.
They found a man in his late 40s sitting in a dark coloured Volkswagen Passat in Greenhill, at the junction with The Paddocks. He was pronounced dead at the scene around half an hour later. A post-mortem examination will be carried out.
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Mr Arwani, reported to have six children, was a preacher at the An Noor mosque in Acton, west London, from 2005-2011.
Visitors to the mosque today said they were shocked and insisted that he did not hold radical views.
One visitor said: “He was a beloved man, he used to give lectures, and teach. He was well loved in the community around here. And he wasn’t radical or anything, you know, that wasn’t him. “
Another said: “He was a very good man, he was a nice man. He didn’t have any enemies in this community.”
A statement posted on the wall of the centre read: ‘We have with great sadness heard of the unfortunate death of Shaykh Abdulhadi Arwani who was the former Iman of the An Noor Cultural and Community Centre who served from 2005 to 2011. He will be sadly missed.”
Scotland Yard said detectives had an open mind about the possible motive of the shooting.
The junction where Mr Arwani’s body was discovered was still cordoned off by police today.
Mr Arwani was born in Syria and was said to have been an outspoken critic of President Bashar Assad.
He is believed to have attended protests against the regime outside the Syrian embassy in London in 2012.
Tributes to him were paid on social media.
One Facebook message said: “Our beloved sheikh Abdul Hadi was murdered this morning in Wembley whilst sitting in his parked car. Bullets found in him. This is no ordinary murder. We ask Allah to shed his mercy upon the sheikh.”
Documenting Oppression Against Muslims, an organisation which campaigns against Islamophobia, said: “We are deeply saddened at the murder of Imam Abdul Hadi. He was a man who spoke up for the oppressed Muslims, especially from his original country Syria.”
Cllr Muhammed Butt, the leader of Brent Council, said he was confident that the police will find the killer.
He said: “Having someone die in tragic circumstances, especially with gunshot wounds, it will cause some concerns and I’m confident that the police and the authorities will be working to make sure the perpetrators are held to account.”