UK anti-terrorism police join inquiry after man set on fire on way from mosque

LONDON, March 21 (Reuters) - British counter-terrorism officers have been called to assist an investigation into a man being set on fire on his way home from a mosque in central England, as detectives consider whether it was linked to a similar incident in London.

Police said the victim was walking home from the mosque in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham on Monday evening when he was approached by a man who sprayed him with a substance and then set his jacket alight.

The injured man suffered burns to his face but his injuries, while serious, were not believed to be life-threatening.

West Midlands Police said a man had been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and inquiries were underway to see if the incident was connected to one in the Ealing area of London at the end of February.

In that instance, an 82-year-old victim was engaged in conversation by a man as they both left the West London Islamic Centre before he was doused in a liquid, believed to be petrol, and set on fire. The injured man suffered burns to his face and arms.

Chief Supt. Richard North, Commander at Birmingham police, said counter-terrorism officers were now supporting their investigation.

"We are taking this matter extremely seriously and are using all resources available to us," he said. "We are keeping an open mind to the motive of the attacker and we won’t speculate further at this stage."

Reporting by Michael Holden, editing by William James

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.