Man charged with attempted murder after two elderly men set alight after leaving mosques
Mohammed Abbkr, 28, has been charged with two counts of attempted murder after two men were set alight in Birmingham and London after leaving mosques, West Midlands Police said.
The Metropolitan Police said an incident in Edgbaston, Birmingham, in which a man was set alight on his way home from a mosque on Monday has been linked to a similar incident in Ealing, west London, where another man was set on fire in February.
Detectives from the Met’s West Area Command are working with West Midlands Police to establish the full circumstances surrounding the incidents, with the West Midlands force is leading the investigation.
One of the victims, a 70-year-old man, was set alight just yards from his house as he walked home from a Birmingham mosque.
His son pleaded for help saying “my dad is on fire”, the family’s lawyer has said.
The incident left Mohammed Rayaz, a retired factory worker, with severe burns to his face, hands and chest.
He remains in stable condition in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital after events unfolded just around the corner from his home in Shenstone Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, at about 7pm on Monday.
Family friend and lawyer Shahbon Hussain, whose office is opposite the mosque, said he got a text message from Mr Rayaz’s son within minutes of the attack.
He said: “I got a text message saying, ‘my dad is on fire – somebody has lit my dad on fire’.
“I thought I had misread and that maybe someone had set his car on fire but it became obvious I hadn’t misread at all.
“He heard his dad screaming, the family had gone out the house and seen him on fire.
“I immediately went over and the police, ambulance and fire brigade were already there.”
Mr Hussain, who also chairs the local Streetwatch group, said: “He was taken to hospital and, in the meantime, I started detective work, putting every clue we had onto the community’s WhatsApp group, which is 160 people and managed to collate all CCTV and Ring doorbell footage.
“All that was passed to the counter-terrorism unit officers.”
He added there was a community meeting between police and locals on the Tuesday morning and, after it had ended, Mr Hussain got another call to say a man matching the description of a suspect was at Dudley Road mosque.