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UK: Suspect arrested after Muslim man set on fire in Birmingham

A man in his 70s was sprayed with substance and set alight on his way home from a mosque, police said
Armed police patrol outside the venue on the opening day of the annual Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, central England, on 2 October 2022 (AFP)
Armed police patrol in Birmingham on 2 October 2022 (AFP)

British police on Tuesday arrested a man on suspicion of attempted murder after a Muslim man was set on fire on his way home from a mosque in central England.

British counterterrorism officers have been called to assist in the investigation.

Police said the victim, in his 70s, was walking home from a mosque in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham on Monday evening when he was approached by a man who sprayed him with a substance and then set his jacket on fire.

The man suffered burns to his face that are not thought to be life-threatening, according to the BBC.

Police arrested the suspect on Dudley Road, the street where the mosque is located, which is also close to where the attack took place. 

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Police are investigating a video of an attack that was shared on social media, showing a man being set on fire.

"Our officers have been working through the night to establish what happened and who is responsible," Chief Superintendent Richard North of West Midlands Police said. 

"We are keeping an open mind to the motive of the attacker and we won't speculate further at this stage."

In a joint statement, the city council's leader Ian Ward, cabinet member for community safety John Cotton and ward councillors Sharon Thompson and Marcus Bernasconi called the attack "horrific" and urged the community to work with the police. They added that dialogue would continue with local mosques and community groups "to offer support to the wider community".

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