LONDON: A former Manchester United stadium steward was jailed Friday for the Islamic State group-inspired murder of an imam who practised a form of healing which he saw as "black magic" incompatible with Islam.
Mohammed Syeedy, 21, was sentenced to a minimum of 24 years as the getaway driver in the killing of Jalal Uddin.
Uddin, 71, was bludgeoned to death with a blunt instrument, possibly a hammer, in a children's play area in Rochdale, northwest England in February.
The man who allegedly delivered the blows, Mohammed Kadir, fled Britain three days after the death and is now thought to be in Syria.
Judge David Maddison said Uddin was a "gentle" man who had been attacked because he practised Ruqya faith healing.
"You and your co-offender saw the practice as a form of black magic that could not be tolerated within Islam," he told Syeedy as he sentenced him at Manchester Crown Court.
Prosecutors said Uddin, who reportedly moved to Rochdale from Bangladesh 15 years ago, had made amulets designed to bring good luck to the person who wore them.
They said his attackers were followers of Salafism and believed this practice was punishable by death.
They added that Syeedy had been radicalised by the IS group and that police found IS-related videos on his phone as well as flags and a headband featuring jihadist symbols at his home.
Sue Hemming, head of the Crown Prosecution Service's special crime and counter-terrorism division, said after the sentencing: "The prosecution proved that Syeedy believed Jalal Uddin to be practising black magic and, inspired by the teachings of Daesh (another name for the IS group), that the victim deserved to die for that belief.
"Syeedy and his accomplice stalked Jalal Uddin round the streets before attacking him and leaving him to die.
"The poisonous ideology of Daesh cannot be allowed to sow division in our society and those who carry out or encourage violence in its name will be prosecuted."