Swedish man jailed for 3 years for mosque arson

STOCKHOLM: A Swedish man received a three-year jail term on Wednesday for an arson attack on a mosque in the country’s south-west, with the court ruling that the act was racially-motivated.

In the early hours of Jan 17, Andreas Persson filled a fuel can at a petrol station in Boras and used it to start a fire at the town’s mosque, the court heard.

Firefighters swiftly put out the blaze but the mosque suffered enough damage to require repairs which will last until summer, the local Muslim association said.

Persson, 31, was identified by video surveillance footage at the petrol service station and through mobile phone traces.

The subsequent enquiry revealed that Persson had “professed xenophobic opinions,” several months before the attack, and was already known to the authorities for drug offences and theft.

Persson denied any criminal intent, telling the court that he had wished to enter the mosque to get warm and to ‘sniff” the petrol, which he then spilled accidentally. The fire started when he used a cigarette lighter to see what he had done, he said.

The prosecutor had sought a seven-year jail term.