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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Thomas Kingsley

Man charged with attempted murder after two elderly Muslims set alight after leaving mosques

Family handout/PA

A man has been charged with two counts of attempted murder after two elderly Muslims were set alight after leaving mosques.

Mohammed Abbkr is alleged to have sprayed a substance on the men and set them alight in separate attacks, in Ealing, London, on 27 February and Edgbaston, Birmingham on 20 March.

The most recent victim, 70 year-old Mohammed Rayaz, was set on fire as he walked home from Dudley Road Mosque in Edgbaston at about 7pm on Monday.

The second attack saw a man set ablaze on a residential Birmingham street (West Midlands Police)

Mr Rayaz, a retired factory worker, suffered severe burns to his face, hands and chest. His son pleaded for help during the incident, saying “my dad is on fire”, the family’s lawyer said.

The victim remains in stable condition in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital after events unfolded just around the corner from his home. Abbkr was arrested in the area on Tuesday on suspicion of the attempted murder of Mr Rayaz.

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’.

The suspect can be seen speaking with Mr Rayaz before setting him on fire (West Midlands Police)

“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 continued.

“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.”

Detectives from the Met Police’s West Area Command are working with West Midlands Police to establish the full circumstances surrounding the two incidents.

Abbkr is due to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Thursday.

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