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Swedish Police launch arson probe after Shia mosque fire

Published tisdag 2 maj kl 09.43
Police outside the mosque on Monday.
Police outside the mosque on Monday. Credit: Anders Wiklund/TT

One man has been arrested, after a suspected arson attack against Sweden's largest Shia Mosque on Sunday night.

The fire broke out late on Sunday night at Imam Ali Islamic Center in Järfälla north-west of Stockholm. As many as 50 firemen were called out to extinguish it. On Monday afternoon, police formally arrested a man that they had brought in for questioning. 

"The investigation has revealed information that made us interested in this person, and now he is formally arrested," police spokesperson Lars Byström told Swedish Radio News, but did not reveal any further details about the suspect.

The mosque has been running for 20 years at its location in an industrial park in Järfälla, northern Stockholm and has 11,000 members.

"The fire started behind the building, and spread over the whole of the large room we have at the back of the premises," said Akil Zahiri, a spokesman for the mosque. "The room is completely destroyed." 

The fire started at about 11:00 pm, after about 500 community members had met to celebrate a Shia festival. By the time it began only a handful of people remained, none of whom were injured.

Zahiri said that he had long feared such an attack.

"I have generally been a little bit worried, because Shia muslims have been suffering similar attacks all over the world, so we know at this can happen anywhere."

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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