A murder investigation has been launched this week following the death of a young imam and Quran reciter on Navigation Road, Tower Hamlets.
Hafidh Mohammed Aqil Mehdi, aged 22, was pronounced dead at 8.43am on Saturday morning after reports of a man with stab wounds were made to the London Ambulance Service.
The motive behind the attack is unknown and no arrests have been made, however a post-mortem examination is being arranged by homicide detectives from the Specialist Crime Unit.
DCI 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.’
The victim was known locally for his recitation of the Quran and in leading Tarawih prayers in the mosque during Ramadan, as well as teaching Quran lessons to local children.
Mehdi’s teacher, Ishaaq Abu Rahmiyyah Jasat, posted on Facebook: ‘It is with an extremely heavy heart that I announce the passing away of my dear student. 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.
‘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.
‘Just like many of the youth today, Hafidh Aqil faced many struggles in his late teenage years. But he had immense love for the Qur’an. He was never afraid to develop himself as a reciter and would regularly ask me for advice.’
A report on Knife Crime in London by Policy Exchange revealed that over 1,000 people in the city were admitted to hospital for knife related injuries each year from 2015-2021.
The report also highlighted that: ‘Young black and ethnic minority men by far the most likely to be stabbed or commit knife crime.’
The highest number of knife crime offences with injury in 2020-21 was recorded in the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark with 167 each.
The total number of offences involving knife crime decreased by roughly 35% from 15,601 in 2019-20 to 10,363 in 2020-21, according to a report from the House of Commons Library.
Any information regarding the case can be forwarded to the Police on 101, with the reference 2171/06NOV.
Or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.