Police are searching for a suspect after an 82-year-old man was doused with petrol and set alight outside West London Islamic Centre in Ealing.
The attack occurred on February 27 at about 8pm but police have just released images of the suspect now.
The suspect engaged the victim (who has been named by the masjid as Mr Hashi) in conversation as they both left the mosque. They spoke for about five minutes when the suspect doused the victim in a liquid, believed to be petrol, before setting him alight using a lighter. He then walked away.
The victim was taken to hospital where he received treatment for severe burns to his face and arms. He has since been discharged and is now recovering from his injuries.
Detective Sergeant Steven Constable said: “I know this will be an incredibly shocking incident for the community and we are carrying out a full investigation into what happened. Understandably, there is a great deal of local concern in the wake of this incident and local officers have been carrying out reassurance patrols daily at the mosque.
“We are continuing to work alongside the West London Islamic Centre who have been very supportive of our investigation and have been assisting us with our enquiries.
“A key part of that is identifying the man in the image we have released. If you recognise this man I would urge you to get in touch, either directly with police or to remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers. I would also urge anyone who witnessed this incident and has not yet spoken to police to please get in touch.”
West London Islamic Centre said in a statement: “Our community at the UKIM West London Islamic Centre was shocked by the appalling and senseless attack on one of regular elderly worshippers Mr Hashi. A respected member of our congregation, Mr Hashi was accosted by a stranger on Singapore Road as he left the evening prayer at approximately 8pm on Monday 27th February. Following a short exchange, the perpetrator doused him with a flammable liquid, set him alight and ran away.
“Very fortunately, Mr Hashi’s friend who was waiting nearby in his car, reacted quickly by putting out the flames and calling the emergency services. Mr Hashi was taken to hospital and treated for severe burns to his face and arms. He was released the following day.
“The Centre and the community are cooperating with the police to help apprehend this dangerous individual. Understandably there are heightened concerns and anxiety within the community whilst the suspect remains at large. Our congregation remains vigilant. We would like to express our wholehearted thanks to the police and local Safer Neighbourhood Team for their support and regular patrols around the Centre which have reassured worshippers.
“Mr Hashi is recuperating from his ordeal with his family and is in good spirits. He has been visited by members of the Centre management and congregation, having been presented with get well gifts and messages.”
If you recognise the man in the image or have any other information that could help the investigation please call police on 101 and give reference 6422/27FEB.
Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.