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Missouri mosque destroyed in second fire in a month
The ruins of a mosque in Joplin, Missouri, smolder after a fire early Monday.
August 6th, 2012
04:54 PM ET

Missouri mosque destroyed in second fire in a month

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."

Though investigators haven't determined the cause, Kester suspects it to be another incident of arson.

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"I think this act of hate will bring us together," she told CNN iReport.

On July 4, surveillance video caught a man approaching the mosque and throwing "an ignited object" on the roof, causing minor exterior damage, according to the FBI.

The FBI was offering a combined reward of $15,000 for information leading to the suspect arsonist in that incident.


iReport: Joplin Mosque Tragedy

Kester said the mosque was a target of other acts of vandalism. In September of 2008, a sign at the mosque was set on fire and was also determined to be arson, according to CNN affiliate KODE.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called for increased police protection at other places of worship in the wake of the fire and is offering a $10,000 reward for information on the latest incident.

The city of Joplin was the site of a monster tornado that ripped through the area in 2011. At least 161 people were killed and miles of businesses, homes and schools were destroyed. Kester said she is confident the community resolve shown after that devastating storm will again be present as the mosque and its members look to rebuild.

"Joplin survived such a devastating storm and we came together. We can all come together and build a great community once again," Kester said.

The mosque's burning comes as an Islamic center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, prepares to open for the first time after years of legal wrangling, vandalism and anti-Muslim sentiment.

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The controversy erupted in 2010, when planning commissioners approved an expansion project at the existing mosque.

The construction site has been vandalized several times, including an arson attack in 2010 and "not welcome" spray-painted on a sign announcing the project. Federal authorities have charged a Texas man with calling in a bomb threat to the center before last year's anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro is awaiting its certificate of occupancy - the final step needed to open.

CNN's Darrell Calhoun and Jareen Imam contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam

soundoff (786 Responses)
  1. BoldSolar

    I will reject any and all religions that kill in the name of their faith. That includes Christianity, Islam, Hindu, Buddha, Judaism. All you will one day realize the folly of your beliefs when you go home. I wish there was a religion that advocated my personal relationship with "the one", the "source." Doing good over evil is easier than we think.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • LivinginVA

      Check out Unitarian Universalism.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  2. Aristotle

    Sixty years ago it was black churches in the South. Not much has changed.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Roger

      "I am concerned for the security of our great nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within."

      General Douglas MacArthur.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  3. Silvio

    Muslims shot up a Church today in Nigeria. 16 killed. This happens every day to Christians in the Middle East and Africa.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Aristotle

      So you're saying we're no better than they are?

      August 7, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • myweightinwords

      We do not control other countries, nor can we prosecute their citizens for crimes committed on their soil.

      We do, however, have laws here, in this country that we can uphold, and whoever is responsible for this fire should be caught, arrested and prosecuted.

      Or are you saying that because unrelated Muslims in another country that we have no control over killed Christians, then Christians in this country have the right/duty to do the same to Muslims living here?

      August 7, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • MO

      But this is America. I thought we are supposed to be better than this

      August 7, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • K-switch

      And BOTH are sickining. Pointing fingers is a deversion tactic of a 4 year old.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • p41

      This is the USA, not Africa, you j a c k a s s-racist.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • just sayin

      K-switch

      And BOTH are sickining. Pointing fingers is a deversion tactic of a 4 year old.

      -–

      Yes this is common practice of persecution complex Christians. Low IQ comes standard with being a Christian in most cases.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Rak

      No it doesn't happen every day you ignorant fool. And these are extremist thugs who are conducting these heinous crimes in Nigeria, not representative of the population there. We are dealing with nuances here.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Silvio,

      nothwithstanding that such violence is wrong, do you really believe that unwelcome preaching of Christianity to the 'heathens' in Africa is morally right?

      August 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Ace

      So when someone burns down a mosque, he/she couldn't have been Christian, but when a Muslim person does it, blame the religion. Wake up. There's hate in your heart.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  4. DIANA

    I wonder if all those politicians who conducted their witch hunt and/or Faux News will condemn this. I'm looking at you Michele Bachman. I noticed they've been pretty quiet since this happened.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  5. J

    When you hear the screaming out loud every few hours as they are so called praying to their God then it gets old and worrisome. In our Bible the Lord said God hates repeated prayers. But, who cares about nuisances in our country, the only ones that go to jail for that is Americans. When you are wakened up all hours of the night by these screaming people and it just terrifies when one hears that and have to try to get back to sleep. God had one Son and that is accepted for a long time. His name is Jesus.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • ToldUso

      There are plenty of Muslims who are American citizens, and more deserving so than your comment suggests you are.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • myweightinwords

      1) These are Americans.
      2) If they are violating noise ordinances, they can be cited.
      3) No one goes to jail for violating noise ordinances.
      4) Perhaps you have never been to a charismatic or Pentecostal prayer service? Talk about loud prayers.
      5) Not everyone believes in your god or his son.
      6) If the "long time" a belief has existed is proof that it is the one right, correct belief, why aren't you Buddhist or Hindu?

      August 7, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • TinKnight

      Yet another "Christian" who has no knowledge about anything related to even their own religion, let alone others.

      First off, Luke 11:13 clearly shows SUPPORT for repeated prayers in the Christian religion, so your basic tenet is flawed from the start, and just shows how LACKING in faith you truly are.

      Second, I have many Islamic friends and have been fortunate to witness their prayers. All of their public prayers are silent or nearly so...the only time you ever hear a spoken or "loud" prayer is in a mosque or other religious center, where their prayers are no louder than in a Christian church. They NEVER "scream out loud."

      Third, they don't typically pray in the middle of the night, and I can pretty much guarantee you've never been "woken by their screams as they pray." Their 5 prayers are during the day and evening...not after bedtime.

      Finally, Jesus's status as "God's son" has NOT been "accepted for a long time"...there have been 2000 years of warfare in and against his name. Around 2 billion out of the 7 billion & counting people follow Christianity...which means there are more than 5 BILLION people in the world who DON'T believe the story of Jesus being God's son from a union with a virgin.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Brian

      the operative words being "our (meaning your) bible" Not theirs not mine not millions of peoples but yours. Having lived near mosques in the past, I can say unequivocally that they are not "screaming at all hours of the night" The only thing you may be able to hear from outside is the call to prayers and most often you can't even hear that in US mosques. So basically you're talking bs and just showing your ignorance/bigotry.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Convoluted

      hate hate hate...your a good christian...

      August 7, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Sarah

      Not only are these Americans, they are SW Missourians.Aside from the different religion they are practically Miracle Whip on Wonderbread.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • p41

      How about relocating, and joining "religious zealots anonymous."

      August 7, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  6. ToldUso

    Has some Tea Bigot already proposed that this is an Obama plot to draw sympathy and votes? I don't feel like reading the entire comments section.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  7. Chiniquy

    Permission [to defend themselves] is given to those against whom war is being wrongfully waged and, verily, G-D has indeed the power to rescue them – those who have been driven from their homelands against all right for no other reason than their saying. “Our Lord-Creator is G-D!” For, if G-D had not enabled people to defend themselves against one another, [all] monasteries and churches and synagogues and mosques – in [all of] which G-Ds name is abundantly extolled – would surely have been destroyed [before now]. And G-D will most certainly rescue him who struggles in HIS cause: for, verily,
    G-D is most powerful, All-Mighty, [well aware of] those who, [even] if WE firmly establish them on earth, remain constant in prayer, and give in charity, and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong; but with G-D rests the final outcome of all events.

    Kur'an

    August 7, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  8. Skookumchuck

    American terrorists at work.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:17 am |
  9. whats in a name

    its the election year. Fox & friends are busy spewing hate and instilling fear in hearts of Americans. elected officials have crossed the sanity line .Bachmann & cronies have painted muslims as extremists with hidden agenda.....same old same old.....white male homegrown terrorists like seg Robert Beale, Loughner, James Holmes and now this guy are the real threat.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • steve

      and the liberal media states automatically that this is a hate crime. why is it that when they attack a white pchristian it isnt hate crime but if it is another religion/race and a white person does something automatically it is racial. this is the state of our country way to go libs

      August 7, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @steve,

      When was the last time HERE IN THE US that a white Christian was beaten, harassed or killed FOR THE FACT that he was a white Christian? When/if that happens, it's a hate crime. Why? Because he was targeted for hatred of what he is.

      When a mosque is burned down BECAUSE IT'S A MOSQUE, it's a hate crime.

      If it turns out that it was dumb kids who didn't know it was a mosque, then it wouldn't be a hate crime.

      See the difference?

      August 7, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • LivinginVA

      Steve: if a Christian church had been the subject of an arson attempt, then burned down due to arson, I would call it a hate crime and terrorism.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • steve

      so is reverend wright and Jesse jackson and the NAACP all racist

      August 7, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @steve,

      Who said anything about racism?

      August 7, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  10. katolungile

    So this is front page news? Only on CNN...

    August 7, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • TinKnight

      Uhm...yes, the destruction of a religious place of worship by an arsonist, especially when there have been multiple attempts at destroying the same religion's places of worship, is VERY worthy of front-page news.

      But perhaps you think TomKat's divorce is more pressing and relevant to anyone?

      August 7, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  11. Craig from LA

    I see the ugly face of bigotry here again. All bigots use the same tactic, the define the whole by the actions of a minority. This same method has been used against blacks, hispanics, gays, Sikhs and anyone who is not white. These hate-mongers are evil and good people of all faiths, cultures and races need to join in common cause to oppose and defeat this malignancy. All be mindful that ""Evil prospers when good men do nothing."

    August 7, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  12. fred

    What a nasty country Fox News has created.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • whats in a name

      true that, a nasty country watching fox garbage

      August 7, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Jeremy

      True. They have been distracted from the real issues being brainwashed into thinking that their religion is under attack.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • steve

      and CNN, MSNBC, CNBC ABC, CBC, NBC,NPR and numerous other news outlets controlled by the left. we have fox and it is automatically fox news fault. wow u need to open your eyes everynite we see on those channels LOVE OBAMA and on this own web site wish obama a happy birthday and show michelle u are with obama well not everyone is with him and this happened on his watch so much for transparity in office. How those arms to Mexico working out obama

      August 7, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Steve,

      I'll grant you that MSNBC is as left as Fox is right. It is unwatchable.

      But you whitewash CNN, CNBC ABC, CBC*, NBC, NPR as all 'left-wing'. That's just right-wing paranoia. If you're not blatently pro-right then you must be left by definition.

      CBC? Presumably you mean CBS, or are you gunning for the Canadians too?

      August 7, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  13. zahid

    so we should not call this act as christian terrorism by white christian fundamentalist(equvilant of taliban in muslim world)

    August 7, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Skookumchuck

      It certainly is terrorism Bring in the drones.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  14. kurtinco

    It is any wonder why this state is firmly in the hands of republicans? Poorly educated hate filled bigots always vote republican.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • steve

      and do nothing liberals living off us hard working republicans and and doing more damage to this country than any religion or state I live in NY the most Liberal state in union so dont tell me about missouri being republican thank god we had a republican mayor in NYC on 9-11 and not a do nothing liberal

      August 7, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  15. kerry

    A pity what is happening in our Heartland. The crazies are coming out of the woodwork. I guess every dog has their day.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  16. Satan

    see Mohammed and Jesus fisting each others butt holes at saladandchips.com.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • cliff

      Your name is so fitting..."prevert!"

      August 7, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Satan

      Lol! Prophets are for gullible dipshi.ts!

      August 7, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  17. steve

    rak: so u say in mali that it is not the muslims doing all this then why do they want their own laws enforced and will stone to death anyone who breaks it. U people know nothing of the people in middle east it is not islam that is the problem it is the people who spew the hatred of islam and the koran, and what about afganistan when the islamist destroyed the shires there...forget about that?

    August 7, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • myweightinwords

      This didn't happen in Iran or Afghanistan or Pakistan. It happened here. In America. On American soil. In an American town. To an American place of religion.

      The people who built that building, who worshiped there had nothing to do with extremists in other countries. They're just average American citizens.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Rak

      Steve I am saying extremists who have a distorted view of Islam are killing other Muslims!!! The majority of Muslims are apolitical and more spiritual, but ignorants like you don't care to know the difference.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  18. John

    The difference between Islamic countries and Christian-based ones:

    1) In a Christian-based country, some bozo burns down an Islamic church and the community comes together and tries to find him and punish him while helping those he hurt.

    2) In an Islamic country, some bozo burns down a Christian church and they celebrate in the streets. They're especially happy if he managed to kill a few Christians in the fire.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • steve

      also celebrate in michigan remember how they celebrated 9-11 attacks

      August 7, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • cw

      First... we are not a Christian nation. Never have been. Second, who cares what other countries do? This is what we do, and this is all that matters.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Haas

      Wrong, the difference is being right wing or left wing. Actually left wing in all countries and religions are pretty close and would never celebrate and harm to others including religiously motivated attacks. However, right wing people of any country, any religion would enjoy harming other people with different views.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Rak

      Where is this ignorant nonsense that people are celebrating in the streets? You people don't cease to amaze me.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  19. Oscar Pitchfork

    Every society has the duty to police the ethics of it's members. If some of it's members come from somewhere else and behave, that's fine. But when they harbor criminals in their midst WHO LOOK JUST LIKE THEY DO or tolerate these criminals, because deep down, they don't approve of the criminals activities, but hate the idea of turning them over to THEIR HOSTS, then these "citizens" need to be hunted down, and exported or exterminated as one would exterminate any virulant plague.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  20. Michael Sawyer

    Busy month for the right wing, or in this case, busy month since the Islamic center was also targeted.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • steve

      busy month for liberals...oh wait they havent done any good in 50 years. yup all us rednecks burned down this place and we are happy. we needed a new nascar track in joplin.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:11 am |
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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.