Friday 2nd of June 2023
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Shia Mosque Near Brussels Set on Fire, Imam Martyrs

Police said the man, detained after mosque personnel trapped him inside the building, apparently used fuel to set fire to the Imam Rida (a.s) mosque near Brussels' international rail hub, martyring 46-year-old Imam of the mosque and father-of-four Abdallah Dadou.

One man was arrested 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.

The Imam who martyred of smoke inhalation, was described as "a person who was loved by everybody -- he was open, well integrated, smiling and happy."

A second person who was with the Imam at the time of the attack was lightly injured.

“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.


"I brought my eight-year-old son here with me so that he can see blind hate, what it can do," said Ismael Ben Mohammad, 40, adding that he felt "a sadness difficult to describe."

The mayor of the city's Anderlecht ward, Gaetan Van Goidsenhoven, appealed for calm at an overnight press conference, saying it was "not only necessary to live side-by-side, but also to allow justice and the police to do their work."

Prosecutor Jean-Marc Meilleur said the arson suspect had come armed with a knife and an axe, but that "people inside the mosque managed to lock him in the building" before police arrived.

"At the moment, there is only one suspect," he said, without excluding accomplices and stressing it was "too soon" to pin down possible motives.

Another press conference has been scheduled for 11:00 am (1000 GMT) on Tuesday.

The area around the 2,000-capacity mosque, one of four Shiite centres of worship in the city's overwhelming majority Sunni Muslim community, has a large immigrant Muslim population.

Police said they received a call at 6:45 pm (1745 GMT) and the body was pulled out 45 minutes later.

Belgian Interior Minister Joelle Milquet said she was "very shocked by the events that have occurred" which she condemned "with firmness and indignation."

Fadila Laanan, a regional minister, said on her Twitter account that she was "scandalised by this attack in my community against a mosque."

"A man is dead and that is despicable, nothing can excuse such an act."

2nd Update:

A Lebanese doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the attacker first broke the glass of a window on the first floor of the center, where the mosque is located, and threw a bottle of Molotov cocktail inside.

“He also had a bottle of benzene, so the building started burning down fast and mosque imam Sheikh Abdullah Dadou was inside,” he told Al Arabiya in a phone interview.

The doctor added that Dadou tried to put out the fire with the help of a Lebanese employee at the association, but failed.

“Both tried to get out of the mosque, but Dadou couldn’t make it. He died of smoke inhalation.”

Dadou’s body was carried out of the mosque 45 minutes after the fire had started where a crowd of around 50 people gathered at the scene.

Al-Imam al-Reda Mosque, which accommodates 2,000 worshippers, is the biggest of four Shiite mosques in Belgium, home to half a million Muslims. The number of Shiite Muslims in Belgium is estimated at 7,000 who mostly hail from Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Jordan, and Morocco.

source : http://abna.ir
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