Moroccan Man Admits Setting Fire to a Shia Mosque in Belgium

SHAFAQNA A Moroccan man living in Belgium has admitted setting fire to a Shiite mosque in Brussels, which caused the death of an Imam. He said that his gesture was intended to “punish” the Shiites.

35-year-old Rachid El Bukhari is accused of having set fire to the Rida Mosque, the main Shiite mosque in Brussels, on March 12, 2012.

El Bukhari, whose trial began on Thursday, accused the Shiites of being “responsible for the ongoing onslaught against the Sunnis in Syria.”

To put his words into action, he went to the mosque located in Anderlecht area armed with an ax and knives. He poured gasoline and then set fire to the building. The fire claimed the life of Imam Abdellah Dahdouh, a father of four, who died from intoxication as he was trying to extinguish the fire.

“Yes, I knew there was a person in the mosque when I put in the fire,” El Bukhari acknowledged before the court in Brussels, adding that he did not intent to hurt anyone. “I thought they were going out door,” he explained.

Two other people were injured while in the mosque for evening prayers. The accused was arrested red-handed. He was charged with ‘terrorist offence’ in addition of setting a fire that caused a death based on a religious motive. He faces a life term in prison.

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