Man set on fire while walking home from Birmingham mosque, just days before Ramadan
An investigation has been launched after a man was set on fire as he walked home from a mosque in Edgbaston, Birmingham, only days before the start of Ramadan.
West Midlands Police believe the man was walking home from Dudley Road mosque when he was approached by another man near the junction of Brixham Road and Shenstone Road just after 7pm yesterday (Monday 20 March).
The attacker spoke to the man briefly before spraying him with an unknown substance and setting his jacket alight, causing burns to his face.
The unnamed victim was taken to hospital with serious injuries but they are not believed to be life threatening.
Officers confirmed they were aware of a video being circulated on social media showing a man being set alight, and are “examining it as part of our investigations”.
Supt James Spencer, from Birmingham Police, said: “Our officers have been working through the night to establish what happened and who is responsible.
“We’re examining CCTV and speaking to witnesses and are determined to find out who is responsible.
“I’ve been speaking to people in this morning, and so I know just how concerned they are and that people are after answers.
“We are determined to find the person responsible and get those answers as soon as possible, and I’d urge the community to work with us and to avoid any speculation at this stage.”
The incident comes just before Ramadan – the Muslim holy month expected to begin tomorrow – and a week after an 82-year-old worshipper was set alight outside a mosque in Ealing, London, and left with severe burns to his face and arms.
Although the Birmingham incident has not been confirmed by police as a hate crime, with no motivation for the attack yet apparent, Islamophobic incidents have been on a sharp rise across England and Wales in recent years.
According to the Home Office, there was a 26 per cent increase in recorded hate crime in 2022, compared with the previous year.
In a report on hate crime recorded by the police in the year ending March 2022, where the perceived religion of the victim was recorded, two in five (42%) of religious hate crime offences were targeted against Muslims (3,459 offences).
West Midlands Police have committed extra officers to reassure to the local community following the Edgbaston attack, and are urging anyone with information to get in touch via Live Chat, quoting log 4009 of 21 March.