A fire which severely damaged a mosque in Lidget Green, Bradford, is being treated as arson.

The blaze in the upstairs room at the Jamiyat Tabligh-Ul-Islam mosque in North Side Terrace caused the ceiling to collapse on to the first floor.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman today said: "The fire is being treated as suspicious.

"There is nothing to suggest it is racially motivated.

"We are appealing for witnesses as the mosque is close to a very busy road, so we are asking people who were in the area at the time to come forward if they saw anyone running away."

Firefighters from Fairweather Green were called to the incident at 1.10pm yesterday.

Winifred Russell, 57, who lives in North Side Terrace, said she had returned from visiting a friend at Bradford Royal Infirmary when she saw the commotion.

She said: "There was a very strong smell of smoke, but the fire was more or less out when I got back.

"The mosque is very busy, and is an important part of the community round here.

"The only thing that annoys people around here is the parking situation when it is very busy."

Anyone with information about the blaze contact the Bradford North Police helpdesk on (01274) 376259 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.