Murdered Preacher Spoke Out Against Terror

Murdered Preacher Spoke Out Against Terror
Murdered Preacher Spoke Out Against Terror

A Syrian-born preacher who was shot dead in London did not hold radical views and was "actively involved in the fight against extremism," according to his family and community.

Abdul Hadi Arwani was found in his Volkswagen Passat in Wembley with a gunshot wound to the chest on Tuesday morning.

A murder investigation was launched into the death of the 48-year-old, who was a preacher at the An-Noor Mosque in Acton, and is now being led by counter-terror police.

Mr Arwani's son Abdelmoneim Mahmoud, one of his six children, posted a message on Facebook on behalf of his family paying tribute to his "peaceful" father.

"He was the most peaceful man you could ever wish to meet," the statement said. "He just loved to help people. He did not care what your background, race or status was."

Mr Mahmoud continued: "My father was actively involved in the fight against extremism, campaigning for peace and advocating the importance of democracy and freedom.

"He loved the idea of freedom for all, regardless of religion, race and background.

"He spoke up and out against the crime of terror and oppression wherever he found it."

An-Noor Mosque has previously hosted the son of radical preacher Abu Hamza, and was the location for the November 2013 escape of terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, who dressed himself in a burka.

But Mr Arwani had been "the voice of reason and transparency" at the mosque, where he was a preacher between 2005 and 2011, the family said.

Visitors to the mosque added that the cleric, a British national who was born in Syria, 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, that wasn't him."

A post-mortem examination into Mr Arwani's death will take place today.

:: Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.