By: Kimberly Rodrigues
A man walking home from a mosque in Birmingham was set on fire by a male suspect, prompting an investigation by the police.
West Midlands Police is leading the investigation, with support from the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), and has arrested a person on suspicion of attempted murder in connection with the incident, which occurred on Monday (20) evening.
The victim sustained serious injuries but is expected to survive.
According to Chief Superintendent Richard North, Commander, at Birmingham police, his officers have been working tirelessly throughout the night to ascertain the facts of the case and identify the perpetrator.
The authorities are taking the incident extremely seriously and are utilising all available resources. The motive of the attacker is yet to be determined, and the police are keeping an open mind in this regard, refraining from further speculation at this stage.
As per the West Midlands Police, the victim was returning home from Dudley Road mosque when he was approached by an unknown individual who engaged him in a brief conversation. The attacker then sprayed him with an unknown substance and set his jacket on fire, resulting in burns to the victim’s face.
The authorities are reviewing CCTV footage and talking to witnesses, and have urged the community to cooperate with their investigations to prevent any unwarranted conjecture at this point. Additional police personnel have been deployed to the area to communicate with locals and provide them with reassurance.
North stated that the investigation is ongoing with the support of Counter Terrorism Policing West Midlands CTU due to their specialist capabilities in determining the circumstances of the incident. He also stated that officers are patrolling the area and visiting local faith establishments to provide reassurance and keep them informed.
Additionally, police are investigating a possible link to a similar attack in west London last month where an 82-year-old man was set on fire outside a mosque. The Metropolitan Police previously reported that the London victim was set alight as he was leaving the West London Islamic Centre at Singapore Road in the Ealing borough on February 27.
(With inputs from PTI)