Syrian Imam Abdul Hadi Arwani shot dead in Wembley

Detectives have revealed that a man found dead in a car in Wembley earlier today – named locally as Abdul Hadi Arwani, a Syrian and former imam at An-Noor Masjid mosque in Acton – was shot in the chest.

Mr Arwani, a father-of-six, was a renowned activist and critic of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

A police spokesman said: “Police were called by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) at 11:15 hrs today (Monday) to reports of a man found suffering what is believed to be gunshot injuries to his chest. The man, aged in his late 40s, was found sitting in a dark coloured Volkswagen Passat, in Greenhill, junction with The Paddocks, Wembley.

“The London Air Ambulance also attended. The man was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:48 hrs. Detectives believe they know the identity of the deceased, however formal identification awaits. Next of kin have been informed. A post mortem examination will be arranged in due course.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8358 0400, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

48-year-old Arwani was born in Syria but was based in the UK, where he was as an Islamic jurist and teacher.

According to the London College of Islamic Studies, Arwani had studied at the Faculty of Shariah (Islamic law) in Jordan, and was a teacher in various Islamic seminaries in Slough and West London.

Arwani was considered an authority on Islamic marriage contracts and divorce law, working mostly in London.

Last night a police source told the Daily Mail that the killing had all the hallmarks of a “state-sponsored assassination.”

Detectives are now trying to establish whether his strong opposition to Assad was the motive, although this seems to be just one of several possible areas of inquiry.

Supporters of the imam have already taken to social media to pay the tributes to him.

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