Belgium: Imam dies after arsonist torches mosque

Police search for evidence at the scene of the petrol bomb attack; one man arrested in connection with the crime.

March 13, 2012 11:05
Police at scene of petrol bomb attack

Police at scene of petrol bomb attack R 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

An imam died in Belgium after an arsonist ignited his mosque Monday night, Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported Tuesday morning.

Belgian police were searching for evidence at the scene of a petrol bomb attack. Witnesses saw a man with a knife and an axe which he used to break the windows of the mosque, situated in  Anderlecht, a suburb of Brussels, Le Soir reported.

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He was also carrying a can of petrol and Molotov cocktails, which he suspected to have thrown into the mosque, causing it to set on fire.

The imam, 47, was treated at the scene but could not be saved. He was found on the second floor of the building after the fire was put out.

"Unfortunately one person died because he inhaled poisonous fumes. The person responsible has been arrested," said Mayor of Anderlecht Gaetan Van Goidshenvonen.

About 500,000 of Belgium's 11 million population are Muslims. There are occasional acts of violence between communities, particularly in areas like Anderlecht.

Belgian Interior Minister Joelle Milquet has condemned the petrol bomb attack.

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