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Young Imam and Qari found dead in East London

Young Imam and Qari found dead in East London

A 22-year-old man was found dead in the early hours of Sunday morning along the Bow Creek Canal in East London.  

Named locally as Mohammed Aqil Mehdi, he was pronounced dead at the scene of the attack in Navigation Road, Tower Hamlets, at 08:43hrs on Saturday. Paramedics were unable to save him.  

Mohammed’s next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers as police launch a murder probe. A post-mortem examination will also be arranged. No arrests have been made at this time.  

Tributes to the young man were made on social media, with Mohammed’s Quran teacher, Ishaaq Abu Rahmiyyah Jasat, posting on Facebook: “Hafidh Aqil was a very special student of mine whom I’ve had the blessed opportunity to teach and mentor for the past 10 years. Words cannot alone describe how much he meant to me. He always tried and excelled so much in his Qur’anic journey, studying and staying with various teachers in Egypt too. 

“His mother is an experienced teacher of the Qur’an and has always made so much effort behind her son. Every year for the last ten years, his mother would contact me and ask me to help secure Hafidh Aqil a Taraweeh placement and Alhamdulillah, we had led the Taraweeh prayers together on several occasions. He always recited in such a beautiful, melodious and soothing tone. I would never get tired of listening to his Qur’an. Alhamdulillah, I had the opportunity to lead the Taraweeh prayers with Hafidh Aqil for the last time this year during Ramadan. 

“May The Almighty grant him the highest status of Jannah and accept his efforts for the Qur’an. Please keep Hafidh Aqil and his family in your prayers.” 

Sunday’s dreadful incident comes after another man was found fighting for his life in the same area on Saturday after being attacked by five other men. They remain in police custody with the victim still in critical condition.  

Each day in London, approximately 10 individuals are caught with blades by police. The city is still caught up in a knife crime crisis. And London could see record numbers of homicides amongst young people, with police urging people “get rid” of their knives.  

According to the Metropolitan police, the number of teenage homicides in London has already reached 26 this year, the record being 29 in 2008. 

Until the pandemic, there was a reported steady increase in recorded knife or sharp item offences in London. When lockdown occurred, such feuds between young people were transferred to the online sphere. With COVID exacerbating inequalities for disadvantaged youths, this created a perfect storm for physical violence to occur on the streets once the city opened up again.  

Addressing the terrifying early morning attack on Sunday, 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.” 

Anyone with information about Mohammed’s death should call 101, giving the reference 2171/06NOV. 

Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. 

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