- Mohammed Hussain Syeedy, 21, is accused of murdering Jalal Uddin, 71
- He was bludgeoned to death in Rochdale as he walked home from prayers
- Syeedy told jurors in evidence that ISIS 's killings are 'absolutely wrong'
- Today, it emerged that he was a friend of British aid worker Alan Henning
The former Manchester United steward accused of murdering an imam because of his 'ISIS beliefs' was friends with Alan Henning, who was killed by the jihadists in Syria.
Mohammed Syeedy, 21, allegedly murdered Manchester religious leader Jalal Uddin, 71, in an ISIS-inspired attack because he did not like his 'black magic'.
Mr Uddin, a well-respected imam who was dubbed 'Voldermort' by ISIS, was battered to death in February this year in a children's park as he walked home after prayers at his mosque in Rochdale.
However, it emerged today that the older brother of the defendant was 'a close friend' of Mr Henning, who was murdered by Jihadi John, broadcast on YouTube in 2015, after being kidnapped on an aid convoy in 2013.
Mohammed Hussain Syeedy who is accused of murdering Jalal Uddin in an ISIS-motivated attack, today told jurors he was a former Manchester United club steward
Defending Icah Peat QC showed Manchester Crown Court an image of Mr Henning raising his finger towards the sky in a gesture which is now associated with ISIS.
They were then shown another image of Mr Henning with the defendant's older brother, who went on the Al Fatiha aid convoy to Syria together in 2013 on the Rochdale to Syria aid convoy.
Syeedy went on a similar trip in 2013, but did not attend this one. He told the court: 'They were part of a convoy with Al Fatiha and in 2013 they went on the convoy together.
'I also knew Gadget (Mr Henning) through charitable events which I also participated in. My older brother was really close to Gadget.
'He was not a Muslim. He was helping the people of Syria. Unfortunately he was killed by ISIS members.
'If Alan Henning was raising his finger pledging allegiance to ISIS I don't think ISIS would have killed him.'
Syeedy with a banner that reads 'Rochdale 2 Syria' and standing with friends who are allegedly performing an ISIS salute. They wear robes with daggers and AK-47s on
Mr Peat then asked: 'When you learned about what ISIS had done to the person you knew, a person that you were friends with and had met at a variety of events, when you found out what ISIS had done to this person what did you feel?
He replied: 'I was really really upset. The fact that a person of his calibre who is not only not a Muslim, he was helping the people of Syria even though he never even participated in Christmas which was his celebration, he gave up that celebration.
'The fact that ISIS murdered him was a complete shock to me. I felt disgusted that ISIS could do this to such a person.
Photographs show Syeedy posting with a flag of the Shahada - the Muslim profession of faith - which is draped over road signs (shown above)
'There is nothing to indicate that I have ever pledged an allegiance to ISIS - that organisation has nothing to do with me.
'My actions over so many years of helping the community show this. I have never ever shown anger or aggression or violence towards anybody.
'No one can say I'm a bad person because its not in my character. Not a single person has come up here saying "Syeedy is this Syeedy is that", so to say that I am part of an organisation that I don't agree with shocks me.'
This comes after Syeedy was questioned regarding images of him on his phone of him doing the same gesture, pointing to the sky and posing with an ISIS flag.
A photograph found on Mohammed Hussain Syeedy's mobile phone shows him posing with a flag in Rochdale and performing what prosecutors claim is an 'ISIS-salute'
The prosecution claim Syeedy and Mohammed Abudul Kadir, 24, carried out the killing because the duo did not like Ruqya, a traditional Islamic healing which the imam practised.
The form of healing - which ISIS extremists believe should be punished with death -involves amulets, known as Taweez, which are said to bring good fortune.
According to prosecutors, the pair and their associates carried out secret surveillance to establish where the imam was living before raiding the mosque where he kept his books of 'spells' and launching the late-night attack.
Yesterday, taking the stand for the first time, Syeedy told the court that he could not have carried out the killing because he was against ISIS and did not like 'innocent people dying'.
'I do not support ISIS. I don't support any of their ideologies or the ways or words of their actions,' he said.
'I think what the things they are doing is absolutely wrong.
I do not agree with what ISIS are doing around the world.'
He added that, although he did not agree with Ruqya, he sees it as God's job to hand out 'punishment'.
The trial continues.