A man set fire to a mosque in Brussels on Monday, killing its 47-year-old imam and injuring another person, AFP reported.
According to the report, the incident took place when a firebomb was thrown into the Rida Shiite mosque, the largest of the four Shiite mosques of Brussels and its environs.
Police officials at the scene confirmed in a conversation with AFP it was the imam who died after succumbing to the fumes in the burnt-out place of worship. His name has not officially been released. A second person who was with him at the time of the attack was lightly injured.
A spokesman for the local police told the news agency that a suspect was taken into custody at the scene.
Anderlecht Mayor Vincent Van Goidsenhoven said the suspect threw a Molotov cocktail at the mosque, which is located near an area with a large immigrant Muslim population.
Belgian Interior Minister Joelle Milquet told AFP she was “very shocked by the events that have occurred,” saying she condemned the event “with firmness and indignation.”
The last time an imam was targeted in Brussels, AFP noted, was in 1989 when Saudi-born Abdullah Muhammad al-Ahdal was shot dead.
Al-Ahdal served as imam in the Grand Mosque of Brussels and was killed on March of that year by an armed man inside the mosque. His killing was claimed by a small pro-Iranian group in Lebanon, who accused him of being too moderate.