Belgian Muslim leaders urge calm after mosque attack, imam death

March 13, 2012

(View of the entrance of the Rida mosque which has been set on fire in Anderlecht commune in the west of Brussels March 13, 2012. REUTERS/Yves Herman)

Belgium’s Muslim leaders called for calm on Tuesday after an attack on a mosque in a suburb of Brussels killed the imam and injured another man shortly after evening prayers.

Belgian media reported that the attacker was a member of the Salafis, a strict movement within the Sunni branch of Islam, and said the incident was linked to tensions within the Muslim community. This could not be independently verified.

Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo condemned Monday’s incident in which an unidentified man armed with an axe and a knife entered a Shi’ite mosque in the district of Anderlecht and ignited a can of fuel, setting the building ablaze.

The imam, named by police as Sheikh Abdallah Dadou, died from inhaling toxic fumes. The second man escaped with minor injuries, authorities said.

Around 10 people were in the mosque when the attacker entered, police said. The assailant was overwhelmed and detained until authorities arrived.

Read the full story by Robert-Jan Bartunek and Claire Davenport here.
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