A suspect who was detained on suspicion of attempted murder after a pensioner was set on fire as he left a Birmingham mosque has been arrested over a similar attack in west London three weeks ago.
Mohammed Rayaz, 70, was doused with an unknown substance and set on fire moments after he left the Birmingham place of worship, which he regularly attends, on Monday.
The attack on Mr Rayaz, whose relatives have told MailOnline he is in “extreme pain” and unable to open his eyes, was graphically caught on CCTV camera and has caused panic in the area with officers stepping up the raids. patrols.
But Monday’s attack near the Dudley Road mosque came exactly three weeks after a similar incident 120 miles away in Ealing, when another worshiper, Mr Hashi, 82, was torched after being followed out of the Islamic Center of West London. He was taken to the hospital to receive treatment for severe burns to his face and arms.
Police were investigating whether the two incidents were related, and confirmed today that they believe they are.
Mohammed Rayaz (pictured), 70, was doused with an unknown substance and set on fire in the attack.
Video shared on social media appears to show a man being set on fire by another person in Edgbaston, Birmingham, on Monday.
Police have arrested a man (pictured) on suspicion of attempted murder after an elderly worshiper was set on fire as he walked home from a mosque in Birmingham on Monday.
Detectives and counter-terrorism police are questioning the suspect on two counts of attempted murder. officers They say they are not sure what the motive for the attacks was.
Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, of the Met’s West Area Command, said: “We fully understand the shock that resonated throughout the community following this incident.”
‘Despite the fact that one man has been arrested, we remain vigilant and urge the local population to do the same.
“Highly visible patrols around Singapore Road will continue in the coming days to provide reassurance to the local population and I urge anyone concerned to approach officers.”
The incident in Ealing took place at around 8pm on Monday 27 February. The officers describing the attack said: ‘The suspect struck up a conversation with the victim as they were both leaving the West London Islamic Center (WILC).
“They had been talking for about five minutes when the suspect doused the victim with a liquid, believed to be gasoline, before setting her on fire with a lighter. The suspect then walked away.
“The victim was taken to the hospital where he was treated for severe burns to his face and arms.”
Friends of the elderly victim say he is worried about going back to praying at his place of worship after the attack.
Rayaz, 70, was doused with an unknown substance and set on fire moments after leaving the Dudley Road Mosque (pictured) in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Members of the Ealing community in Ealing say they have felt ‘unsafe’ and wary’.
Jama Ahmed, who prays at the WLIC, said: ‘Mr Hashi is fine. He is recovering well.
“But he is a bit worried about going back to the mosque, even though he doesn’t know why he was attacked.”
Hashi’s friend, 50, added: “The police arrived soon after and wandered around for a couple of weeks, but during prayer we are very cautious.
‘Young people and teenagers don’t feel safe to go out in the evenings and go straight home after their prayers. The community feels unsafe. During the day it’s fine, but at night people are cautious.
‘Ramadan is coming up and we will finish late, so everyone is a little worried. Thousands of people will come to the mosque during Ramadan.’
Adil, another worshiper at the WLIC mosque, believes the attacks were motivated by age and not racially motivated. “These people (the elderly victims of the two attacks) are the most vulnerable,” he added.
“I have a feeling it’s not about them being the same religion.”
Members of the Ealing community in Ealing say they have felt ‘unsafe’ and wary’ after the West London Islamic Center attack (pictured)
But another local business owner disagreed with this, adding: “Because it happened outside the mosque, people will say it’s racism.” It is, possibly.
‘The mosque is a holy place, like a temple or a church. I’ve been here 25 years and nothing like this has ever happened before.’
Meanwhile, Mr Rayaz’s nephew Hamza, 27, gave an update on his uncle’s condition since the second attack in Birmingham. He told MailOnline: ‘I went to visit him and he looks very bad.
‘He isn’t able to talk much and can’t see anything at all. He is wrapped in many bandages and we are praying that he recovers and that there are no lasting effects from this horrible attack.
“We do not want to reveal the name of the hospital where he is being treated, but my uncle is in the intensive care unit and is well cared for. We are all praying for him.