Man suspected of Shia mosque attack arrested in Sweden

Swedish police on Tuesday arrested a man suspected of an arson attack that damaged a mosque overnight in the city of Orebro, the latest in a string of such incidents in recent years.

“We currently see no political or religious motives to this crime and we refrain from all kinds of speculation,” Bo Andersson, the police chief of Orebro, about 200 kilometres west of Stockholm, said at a news conference.

He said the suspect was born in 1997, but declined to provide further details. He also said police were “excluding nothing” in the investigation.

Images on the mosque’s Facebook page showed a large part of the building burned down as smoke rose from its roof after the attack, which occurred early on Tuesday.

The mosque, used by the Sunni community, can host up to 250 people inside, and has thousands of visitors every month.

“It’s a sad day today for Muslims in Orebro and in Sweden. It doesn’t feel good at all to wake up to a destroyed mosque,” Jamal Lamhamdi, head of the mosque’s foundation, told local newspaper Nerikes Allehanda.

Several mosques in Sweden have been the target of arson attacks and vandalism in recent years but few of the perpetrators have been caught. No one has died in the attacks.

Sweden’s largest Shia Muslim mosque, in a northern suburb of Stockholm, was badly damaged in a suspected arson attack in April.

Several other mosques have been broken into, with vandals sometimes drawing swastikas inside the premises.