A young imam found stabbed to death near a canal in east London was “an amazing role model,” friends have said.
His parents and two sisters have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.
Friend Mohammed Saleh said instead of his son being taught Arabic by Mr Mahdi yesterday, he was sat at home mourning his death.
He added on Facebook: “We visited Aqil’s family yesterday and they are in the same state any family would be, holding on to their belief in Allah, his messenger and the promise of being reunited with those they love dearly.
“Aqil taught so many boys and girls how to recite the book of Allah with passion.
“He was an amazing role model and inspiration for these kids who were excited to attend their lessons just to be in his joyful company.”
An online fundraiser in his memory raised more than £5,000 in less than 24 hours.
Taji Mustafa said: “Young Aqil was one of the dedicated teams of imams who led salat in Ramadan this year in my local mosque.”
The Met’s investigation is being led by homicide detectives from Specialist Crime. No arrests have been made.
Detective Chief Inspector Laurence Smith said: “Our investigation is at an early stage, but we are making progress. I am determined to get justice for the victim’s family by finding whoever is responsible for this murder.
“I urge any witnesses or anyone who saw anything that may be significant to please make contact with police, or with Crimestoppers, and share what they know.”
Anyone with information should call 101, giving the reference 2171/06NOV. Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.