The UK police arrested a suspect on Wednesday who set on fire an elderly Muslim man while he was walking towards his home from a mosque in Birmingham. The victim suffered serious burn injuries on his face, Al Jazeera reported.
A video of the incident is widely circulating on social media platforms. The CCTV camera footage shows a suspected young man wearing a blue hoodie approaching a victim who is in his 70s, walking on Shenstone road, and seen arguing with the old man.
Later, the victim’s jacket is set alight and an old man is heard screaming in pain.
Richard North — Chief Superintendent at Birmingham police said investigators were “keeping an open mind to the motive of the attacker”, he warned against speculation.
According to the West Midlands Police, “He [suspect] spoke to [the victim] briefly before spraying with an unknown substance and then his jacket was set alight, causing burns to his face.”
The victim was taken to hospital with serious injuries and is expected to survive.
“For 35 years he’s been going to that mosque to pray and there’s never been a problem … Suddenly this happens. His hair, beard and eyebrows are badly burnt. We’re praying he’s OK”, a victim’s nephew told BBC.
An MP of the opposition Labour Party, Zarah Sultan expressed her concern over the incident and said she was “horrified”.
Counter-terrorism police are understood to be involved in investigations amid fears of a worrying pattern of crime.
Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2023
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