Imam dies in arson attack on Belgian mosque

Police say suspect was taken into custody after Brussels mosque was almost entirely burned down.

Mosque bomb brussels
Police said that a suspect set fire to the building and the victim apparently died of smoke inhalation [AFP]

A man has been killed and another injured in an arson attack on a mosque in Brussels, the Belgian capital.

“A suspect was taken into custody at the scene,” police spokeswoman Marie Verbeke told the AFP news agency on Monday. She said the victim apparently died of smoke inhalation. “The mosque was apparently almost entirely burned down.”

Public broadcaster RTBF and a stream of social media users said the victim was a 47-year-old imam and that a group of at least 50 people had gathered outside the Shia mosque.

Police confirmed this information and said they received a call at 6:45pm (1745 GMT) and the body was pulled out 45 minutes later.

A witness saw the suspect, a man, set fire to the building, Verbeke said, but no other details were immediately available about him.

Vincent Van Goidsenhoven, the mayor of the Anderlecht district, said the suspect had thrown a Molotov cocktail at the mosque, Belga news agency reported.

The area around the mosque, near Belgium’s main international railway hub, has a large immigrant Muslim population.

Source: News Agencies