By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - A mosque in Joplin, Missouri, was burned to the ground early Monday, just over a month after an attempted arson at the Islamic center, officials said.
Authorities are investigating the cause of the latest fire. The mosque's security cameras were destroyed in the blaze, according to Sharon Rhine of the Jasper County Sheriff's Office.
"This incident should not stop us from worshiping our God," one member of the Islamic Society of Joplin told CNN affiliate KYTV. "We are going to find a place probably to continue our service to God."
Kimberly Kester, another member, said the blaze was so intense that the building's bricks were still sizzling hours after the fire.
Carl Junction Fire Chief Bill Dunn called it a "complete loss."
By Jeffrey Elizabeth Copeland, CNN
(CNN)–After barring a black couple from marrying in its Mississippi facility in late July, the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs released a statement Sunday apologizing for its actions.
“We, the church, realize that the Hendersons and Wilsons should never have been asked to relocate their wedding. This wrong decision resulted in hurt and sadness for everyone. Both the pastor and those involved in the wedding location being changed have expressed their regrets and sorrow for their actions,” the church said.
Te’Andrea and Charles Wilson planned for months to marry at the First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs but were asked at the last minute to move.
Their pastor, Stan Weatherford, made the request on behalf of some congregants who didn't want to see the couple married there, according to CNN affiliate WLBT. He performed the ceremony at a nearby church.
Sunday’s statement follows a string of apologies from First Baptist and its congregation for turning away the young couple.
“As a church, we express our apology to Te’Andrea and Charles Wilson for the hurt that was brought to them in the hours preceding their wedding and beyond. We are seeking forgiveness and reconciliation with our Lord Jesus Christ, Te’Andrea and Charles, family and friends of the Hendersons and Wilsons, our church family, and our community for the actions and attitudes that have recently occurred,” the statement continued.
Editor's note: Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and author of the book "Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era."
By Arsalan Iftikhar, Special to CNN
(CNN)–Imagine that you woke up on a beautiful Sunday morning to hear the news of a brown, bearded, gun-wielding madman who stormed into a Wisconsin church full of blond-haired parishioners and killed six innocent people.
If that scenario did occur, would most Americans have any problem calling that an act of "terrorism"?
Of course not.
Now imagine that the shooter was a white man and the innocent victims were bearded brown men and head-covered women. Suddenly, the discussion of "terrorism" gets a lot more complicated.
Of course, this is exactly what happened in a Milwaukee suburb on Sunday, when six people and the alleged gunman were killed at a Sikh temple.
(CNN)–Immediately after the September 11, 2001, terrorist acts, Sikhs came under attack.
Mistaken for Muslims for their beards and turbans, they became ripe targets for zealots seeking revenge.
The first person murdered in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks was a Sikh – a gas station owner in Mesa, Arizona, named Balbir Singh Sodhi who was shot five times by aircraft mechanic Frank Roque.
In the intervening years, the Sikh Coalition, a New York-based advocacy group, reported more than 700 attacks or bias-related incidents.
Some Sikhs had their houses vandalized; others were spat upon. In some extreme cases, Sikhs were set upon by groups of people and beaten.
By Laura Koran, CNN
Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.
From the Blog:
SWAT officers surround a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, where a gunman stormed the service and opened fire on Sunday, August 5. The incident left six people and the gunman dead.
CNN: Gunman, six others dead at Wisconsin Sikh temple
The FBI will investigate Sunday's rampage at a Sikh temple in a Milwaukee suburb as a "domestic terrorist-type incident" that left at least six people and the gunman dead, the town's police chief said. Another three people were wounded, including the first officer to respond to the scene, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said. A second officer returned fire, killing the suspect, according to the chief.
CNN: Explainer: Who are Sikhs and what do they believe?
Sikhism, the world's fifth most popular religion, is a monotheistic faith that believes in equality and service to others, Sikh officials say. "Everyone is the same," says Raghunandan Johar, president of the Guru Nanak Mission of Atlanta. "There is no distinction, no caste system." Navdeep Singh, a policy adviser to the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, says Sikhs believe in freedom of religion, community service and inclusiveness.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.