Police: Belgian mosque attacked, imam dies

AP News
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Posted: Mar 12, 2012 9:47 PM
Police: Belgian mosque attacked, imam dies

A mosque near Brussels was the target Monday evening of an arson attack in which the imam died, Belgian authorities said late Monday.

One man was arrested _ a Muslim who said he was born in 1978 _ in the attack on the mosque in Anderlecht, a suburb of Brussels, the Belgian capital, said Jean-Marc Meilleur, a spokesman for the Brussels Prosecutor's Office.

"It seemed that this person showed up and pulled out a knife and an ax, and that he spread flammable products _ petrol we assume _ in order to start a fire and threaten the mosque occupants," Meilleur said.

He said the man's name and age could not be verified, as he had no identification papers. He said the man had been locked in a room by worshippers at the mosque before authorities apprehended him.

Marie Verbeck, a police spokeswoman, told The Associated Press that no other people were being sought in connection with the attack.

One other person was lightly injured, Meilleur said. He said the attack took place between 6 and 7 p.m. local time.

An Associated Press photographer at the scene saw fire damage and people gathered outside the mosque, some of whom were praying.

Le Soir newspaper said the imam, whom it reported to be 47 years old, died trying to put out the fire. Verbeck said she did not have the name of the imam.