Detectives from the Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) are now leading the investigation into the death of anti-President Bashar Assad activist Abdul-Hadi Arwani.
The 48 year old former Imam and British national, born in Syria, was living in west London, and respected as a lecturer in Islamic law with the title of Sheikh Abdul-Hadi Arwani.
Police were called by the London Ambulance Service at 11:15 am in the morning to reports of a man suffering from what are believed to be gun injuries to his chest.
On arrival Mr Arwani was found sitting in a dark coloured Volkswagon Passat parked in Greenhill at the junction with The Paddocks.
New Scotland Yard say:
SO15 are now carrying out the investigation because of their expertise in the management of investigations with international dimensions and an established liaison network abroad.
The investigation remains in its very early stages and officers remain open-minded about the motive.
Specially trained family liaison officers continue to provide support to Mr Arwani’s family ‘at this very difficult time.’
A post-mortem examination is scheduled for Thursday, 9 April.
Formal identification has not yet taken place.
Police appeal to anyone with information to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Update 10/4/2015, 7.27 pm
New Scotland Yard says: ‘specially trained family liaison officers continue to provide support to Mr Arwani’s family at this very difficult time.’
A Special post-mortem examination held on Thursday, 9 April at Northwick Park Hospital gave the cause of death as gunshot wounds.
Arwani Family Official Statement – originally issued on Wednesday, 8th April by Murhaf Arwani – Son of Abdulhadi Arwani:
Peace and Blessings Upon you all.
As many of you will already know, my late father Abdul Hadi Arwani was found dead with gunshot wounds to his chest, in his car in Wembley at 11:15am yesterday. May he rest in peace. He leaves behind a loving wife, myself and five other children, distraught friends and family and a congregation that loved him as much as he loved them.
My family and I have been in a state of shock ever since we learned of this terrible news. We have not slept and our minds are a blur as to what happened and why.
The police are currently investigating this brutal murder. As an individual, a family and a community, we are helping the police to solve this heinous crime. Any information we have has, and will be passed on to them and we urge anyone with any information to please please please do the same. To members of the public that knew my late father and even those of you who didn’t know him, please tell us what you know. We know that it won’t bring our father back to us but it may help to deliver justice to those who killed him.
My father was a very well loved figure in West London. He was the most peaceful man you could ever wish to meet. He just loved to help people. He did not care what your background, race or status was. He did not care if you were rich or poor. He just wanted to help people in need. It has only been 24 hours since his death and yet we have received hundreds of messages from individuals testifying to how he had helped them personally or helped them get a job or helped members of their families. He never asked for a reward for what he did.
He was an old fashioned man who thought love and understanding could cure all of the world’s ills. He was always smiling and joking with everyone he met. He showed so much love to his congregation and to his community as an Imam and a loving father to us, his six children. I don’t know how we will cope without him.
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. He was an advocate of peace for all and he showed us this in the way he lived his life from day to day. I saw the way he communicated with people of all different backgrounds, how he befriended them, showed them love and always left them smiling.
I do not wish to comment on the ongoing investigation but would like to take this opportunity to dispel some of the incorrect information that is appearing in various media outlets. So please note that my father was a British Citizen who loved the people of his country. He was at one time the imam of the An Noor mosque in Acton until early 2011. At that institution, he was the voice of reason and transparency; A peaceful man in a violent world.
Since early 2011, he has been concentrating on his own business, helping the community, teaching and advising his students and anyone who came his way. His only crime was to never say no to anyone in need. I am and will forever remain, so proud of him and all that he achieved.
This was a heinous crime that robbed our community of one of its most valuable assets. My father was an inspiration, not just to me, but to his students and friends who had the honour of knowing & spending time with him. At this difficult period of time, my family and I would like to respectfully request that you allow us some privacy so we may grieve and mourn our late father in peace.
As stated above, we are all co-operating with the police investigation and we hope and pray that the perpetrators of this crime will be apprehended and bought to justice and that my late father can rest in peace.
Thank you for your understanding.
Murhaf Arwani and family