CCTV captures ‘horrific’ attack on Muslim man set on fire as he walked home from mosque
A Muslim has been set on fire by a man as he walked home from a mosque prompting a counter-terrorism investigation.
The victim suffered facial burns when his jacket was set alight in Shenstone Road in Edgbaston, Birmingham, at around 7pm on Monday. He suffered serious injuries but they are not believed to be life-threatening.
Counter-terrorism police are now involved in the probe and a man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
Local councillors have called the incident a “horrific attack” and are engaging with the community and local mosques to provide support.
Video footage shows a man speaking with the elderly victim on a residential street before the discussion apparently escalates. The victim is then sprayed with a substance and set alight while the attacker walks away.
West Midlands Police said it is aware of a similar incident in the Ealing area of west London last month and is working with the Metropolitan Police to see whether the incidents are linked.
The Met said an 82-year-old man was set alight on Singapore Road on 27 February as the suspect and victim both left the West London Islamic Centre. He then doused the victim in a liquid and set him alight before strolling away from the scene, investigators said. The victim was rushed to hospital where he received treatment for severe burns to his arms and face.
West Midlands Police said officers are studying video footage of Monday evening’s attack which has been circulated on social media.
Speaking at a community centre on Winson Green Road, Birmingham, chief superintendent Richard North said: “We are aware of the incident that happened in London.
“We are actively working with the Metropolitan Police to see if those two incidents are connected,” he continued. “That’s a major part of our inquiry.”
The man arrested in Birmingham remains in custody and was identified by officers who were in the area carrying out inquiries following the attack.
Following the attack, Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward, Cabinet member for social justice, community safety and equalities John Cotton, and ward councillors Sharon Thompson and Marcus Bernasconi said: “This was a horrific attack and our thoughts are with the victim and his family at such a distressing time.
“Councillors and the community safety team are speaking to the family and West Midlands Police. We will continue to offer our support.
“Council officers, local councillors and MP have also been engaging with community groups and local mosques to offer support to the wider community.
“We would urge the community to work with the police and to avoid any speculation at this stage – and also like to thank them for their willingness to share information on this incident.”
Anyone with information has been asked to get in touch with West Midlands Police via Live Chat on the force website or to contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.