Rabbis condemn 'desecration' of Brussels mosque murder

European rabbis have offered their condolences following the fatal attack on a Brussels mosque earlier this week.

The imam of the the Shi'ite Rida Mosque in Brussels's Anderlicht district was killed on Tuesday when an extremist threw a petrol bomb into the building.

Abdallah Badou, a 46-year-old father of four, died of smoke inhalation after he tried to put out the fire.

The attack has sent shockwaves through B elgium's Muslim community. A police spokesman said that the suspected arsonist had told investigators "he was shocked by the pictures of what was going on in Syria and wanted to do something to scare members of the community which was responsible". The suspect claimed to be a Sunni Muslim targeting the Shi'ite community.

The Conference of European Rabbis said in a statement that it was deeply shocked by the attack against the Muslim community.

Its president, Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, said he condemned it wholeheartedly. He added: "Any attack on a religious community and particularly one directed at a house of worship is an ultimate desecration of religion and an act we wholeheartedly condemn.

"We hope and pray that the intolerance and hate which led to this horrific act can be banished from the face of our shared city and continent."

Last updated: 6:55pm, March 14 2012