Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a 52 year old man was stabbed to death outside Al Madinah Central Mosque & Institute in Coventry on Sunday night.
Police were called to the mosque just after 9pm to reports of a fight involving a large group of men outside, some armed with knives.
Officers found two people who had been injured, including a 52-year-old man who had been stabbed. Despite efforts to save him, he died a short time later.
A second man, aged 44, suffered a small stab wound.
A 56-year-old man was arrested by armed officers nearby a short time later, while a second suspect aged 27 was arrested in the early hours of Monday morning. Both men will be questioned on suspicion of murder.
In a statement on Monday Mohammed Nabeel Afzal Qadri, the head Imam at Al Madina Central Mosque & Institute, said: “It is with great sadness and distress I have to make this statement. Last night during a funeral prayer at around 8:55pm a man by the name of Haji Rab Nawaz was viciously stabbed on Queen Marys Rd outside the Mosque car park which consequently led to his death.
“The victim had his car targeted initially, then was stabbed. He was rushed into the mosque for some sort of safety and sanctuary only for him to collapse inside the funeral area and breathe his final breaths. The attackers did not hold back and continued their assault. They came into the mosque car park holding large knives and machetes in search for the victim and further damaged his vehicle.
“We believe this was an instigated and pre-planned attack which was due to a family feud. I speak on behalf of the mosque & local community who severely condemn this vile, despicable & callous act. The life of any individual is precious and sacred, for it to be lost in a moment in such a savage and brutal way is devastating.
“I request the local community to allow the police to carry out their investigation with ease and any person who may have witnessed the attack is urged to come forward. The local media outlets are requested to not make false accounts based upon assumptions. This was an isolated incident NOT linked to any religious or communal tensions.
“All Mosque educational activities are postponed til further notice to allow the police the space and time they require. May Allah rest the brothers soul in paradise, grant him the rank of martyrdom and bring the murderers to justice in this life and the hereafter.”
Det Supt Shaun Edwards, overseeing the investigation, said: “We’re supporting the family of the man who has died at what is a truly awful time for them, and our thoughts go out to them.
“We’ve made some really good early progress in this investigation, but there is still a lot of work to do be done in identifying all of those involved in what happened last night.
“We don’t believe this is linked to any other incidents or disputes either in Coventry or the wider West Midlands and it appears to have been an isolated dispute which has ended in tragedy.
“We’ll continue to work flat out to bring all of those involved to justice. I’d urge anyone who was in the area at the time, who may have seen or recorded what happened on a mobile phone or dashcam to get in touch with us as soon as possible.
“Officers are speaking with residents and community leaders to offer reassurance, and patrols in the area will be stepped up.”
Anyone with information has been asked to get in touch, quoting log 3319 of 2 October.
You can reach us via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk, or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.