A British-based Muslim cleric who opposed the Syrian government was found dead in his car with a gunshot wound to his chest, reports said on Wednesday.

The Metropolitan Police said officers launched a murder investigation after the man in his late 40s was found in the Wembley area of north-west London on Tuesday.

The BBC said it “understands the victim was Abdul Hadi Arwani, a chef and former imam at a London mosque, reported in the past as having extremist links.”

Several other media reports identified the man as Arwani, a fierce critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian-born cleric had served as an imam at the controversial An-noor Masjid mosque in Acton, west London, and as a teacher at several Islamic schools in the city.

“Our beloved sheikh Abdul Hadi (former imam of Masjid An-Noor Acton) was murdered this morning in Wembley whilst sitting in his parked car,” said a statement posted on the website of the group Documenting Oppression Against Muslims (DOAM).

“This is no ordinary murder,” DOAM said.

“We ask Allah to bring justice to the cowards that murdered him.”

GNA

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