Man set on fire walking home from Birmingham mosque - terror police investigating
A man has been set on fire as he walked home from a mosque in Birmingham, with counter-terrorism police involved in the investigation.
West Midlands Police, which is leading the probe, said a man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
The victim suffered burns to his face after he was sprayed with an unknown substance on Shenstone Road in Edgbaston, just after 7pm on Monday.
Video of the incident, first circulated on social media, shows the man being approached and then set alight. Police are examining it as part of their investigations.
Officers are also looking into whether a similar attack in west London, where an 82-year-old man was set on fire outside a mosque, is linked.
Prime minister Rishi Sunak's official spokesperson said the incident in Birmingham was a "concerning case".
According to police, the victim in Edgbaston was sprayed with an unknown substance, causing his jacket to catch fire and burns to his face.
The man was subsequently taken to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
'A really serious incident'
Supt James Spencer said: "We're examining CCTV and speaking to witnesses and are determined to find out who is responsible.
"I've been speaking to people this morning, and so I know just how concerned they are and that people are after answers.
"We are determined to find the person responsible and get those answers as soon as possible, and I'd urge the community to work with us and to avoid any speculation at this stage."
Speaking to Sky News, Chief Supt Richard North, Commander at Birmingham Police, said: "This is a really serious incident.
"The victim was simply going about his business, walking back from a place of worship, when he was approached, had this substance sprayed on him and was set on fire
"What motivated the attack, we don't understand at the moment, and that is a very active part of our investigation and our inquiry."
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In an earlier statement, CS North said his team were being supported by Counter Terrorism Policing West Midlands CTU "who have access to specialist capabilities to help establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident".
"We have officers patrolling the local area to reassure people and we are visiting local faith establishments to keep them informed."
Extra officers will be in the area today to speak to the community, police said.
The Metropolitan Police previously said the Ealing victim was set alight as he left the West London Islamic Centre in Singapore Road in the west London borough at around 8pm on 27 February.
Responding to the incident, The Association of British Muslims (AOBM) said it was "shocked" and urged anyone with information to come forward to the police.
Mohammed Abbasi, co-director of the group, added: "As the Association of British Muslims we extend our support and prayers to the victim and his family.
"We also call for calm and urge all the communities to come together and remain vigilant and cooperate with the police."
In a statement, the city council's leader Ian Ward, cabinet member for community safety John Cotton, and ward councillors Sharon Thompson and Marcus Bernasconi, called it an "horrific attack".
"Our thoughts are with the victim and his family at such a distressing time," the statement read.
"Councillors and the Community Safety team are speaking to the family and West Midlands Police. We will continue to offer our support."
The group also urged people to avoid speculation and urged anyone with information to contact the police.
'Devastated and traumatised'
Speaking separately to Sky News, Cllr Thompson added: "The victim is well-loved in the community. We all know him and his family, so this has come as a huge shock.
"They [the family] are devastated, they are really devastated. Nobody expects that.
"He [the victim] was just walking back from the mosque, finishing his prayers, so the whole family is absolutely devastated and traumatised and they are staying by his side, which is understandable."
"We will continue to support them as a family," she added.