One of the heads of an Essex mosque hit overnight by a suspected arson attempt says he believes it may be an anti-Muslim attack.
Zia Rehman, vice-chairman of the Harlow Islamic Centre, said:
We have been working very hard within the local community, building bridges, and we were hoping we wouldn't have this kind of problem, but in the current climate there are elements within society that are not happy and there are issues.
– Zia Rehman
There has been a spike in hate crimes against Muslims in recent months following the death of Fusilier Lee Rigby outside Woolwich Barracks in south-east London in May.
An eyewitness has told local media that there were a dozen worshippers in the mosque when a man attacked with a petrol bomb. An imam died as a result of smake inhalation, and another person was injured. Azzedine Laghmish told Belgium's national broadcaster RTBF:
A dozen worshippers were waiting to pray when someone entered with a bag. Inside there was a container full of petrol which he threw into the centre of the room. The fire took hold very quickly. The imam tried to put it out but he found himself stuck in a room.
An imam has died after an arson attack on a mosque in the Anderlecht district of Brussels in Belgium. Witnesses said a man entered the mosque before throwing a petrol bomb. Initial reports said the imam, 47, died of smoke inhalation, and one other person was injured.