A man suspected of attempted murder is being questioned in the English midlands after an elderly Muslim was attacked while walking home from his local mosque, just weeks after a similar assault in London.
Video of the incident, which took place on Monday evening in the city of Birmingham, was shared widely on social media.
In the clip, a younger man is seen arguing with the elderly victim, who is in his 70s, on Shenstone Road. Later, the victim’s jacket is set alight and he is heard screaming in pain.
“He spoke to [the victim] briefly before spraying with an unknown substance and then his jacket was set alight, causing burns to his face,” West Midlands Police said in a statement.
The victim was taken to hospital with serious injuries and is expected to survive.
West Midlands Police told Al Jazeera an update on the case is expected later on Wednesday.
Tayyab Riaz, the victim’s nephew, told the BBC: “For 35 years he’s been going to that mosque to pray and there’s never been a problem … Suddenly this happens. His hair, beard and eyebrows are badly burnt. We’re praying he’s OK.”
Chief Superintendent Richard North, commander at Birmingham police, said investigators were “keeping an open mind to the motive of the attacker” as he warned against speculation.