Saturday, March 17, 2012

An arsonist’s attack on a Shiite mosque in a Brussels suburb that left its 46-year-old imam dead provoked shock and grief among Muslims in Belgium was due to tensions between the Shiite and Sunni communities

The victim, identified as Abdallah Dadou, a father of four, died while attempting to extinguish the blaze, which was set at the mosque in the Brussels suburb of Anderlect. Earlier a man who identified himself as a Muslim had approached the building carrying an axe, a knife and flammable liquid that he spread in the mosque, setting fire to it, officials said. The mosque was heavily damaged. Joëlle Milquet, Belgium’s interior minister, condemned the attack saying it was due to tensions between Sunnis and Shiites. Sunnis comprise the overwhelming majority among immigrant Muslims in Brussels. The suspect had declared himself to be a Muslim, had given several identities and appeared to be in his thirties but did not have any documents to prove he was Belgian or legally in Belgium. A mosque official, Azzedine Laghmich, said that the attacker was a Sunni who had screamed Sunni slogans.