Terrorism police are now investigating the motive behind the two arson attacks on elderly Muslims in Birmingham and London. A migrant reportedly from Somalia, Mohammed Abbkr, 28, of Edgbaston in Birmingham is alleged to have sprayed a flammable substance onto the two Muslim victims in the separate incidents.
Daily Mail This is the moment counter-terror police arrested a man on suspicion of attempted murder after a Muslim man was set on fire after leaving a mosque. The victim had been praying in front of a suspect described as being ‘Somalian’ by fellow worshippers, before he was followed home and attacked yards from his front door.
The attack came exactly three weeks after a similar incident 120 miles away in Ealing, when another worshipper, 82, was set ablaze after being followed out of the West London Islamic Centre. He was taken to hospital for treatment for severe burns to his face and arms.
In the Birmingham incident, residents’ security cameras showed the younger man engaging the grey-haired victim in conversation outside the mosque, before he carried out the attack. As the victim screamed on the pavement, cars continued to drive past just yards away.
The victim was taken to hospital with ‘serious’ burns to his face and is expected to need skin grafts. Police said he remained in a stable condition.
The Metropolitan Police previously said the west London victim was set alight as he left the West London Islamic Centre on Singapore Road in Ealing at around 8pm on February 27. He then doused the victim in a liquid and set him alight before strolling away from the scene, investigators said.
BBC Hashi Odowa, 82, was set alight by a mosque in Ealing, west London, on 27 February. Mr Odowa received hospital treatment for severe burns to his face and arms after the attack near West London Islamic Centre.
Mohammed Rayaz, 70, was also set on fire and seriously injured in Edgbaston, Birmingham, on Monday.
Members of the mosque described the incidents as “abhorrent and malicious attacks on two elders within our community”.
Mr Rayaz’s family said he remained in a serious but stable condition in hospital following a skin graft operation. The retired factory worker was sprayed with a substance before his jacket was set on fire near his home in Shenstone Road, a short distance from the Dudley Road mosque he had left.
Family lawyer Shahbon Hussain said he had got a text message from Mr Rayaz’s son moments afterwards. “He heard his dad screaming, the family had gone out the house and seen him on fire,” he said. “I immediately went over and the police, ambulance and fire brigade were already there.”
Neighbours also helped to put flames out and carry Mr Rayaz to his home, the lawyer said.