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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

"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. Harry Kuheim

    Now THAT'S a good lookin' Mosque!

    May 22, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
  2. ..

    Couple questions

    who did 9/11? A : muslums
    who killed theo van gogh A: ditto
    who did the london bombings A: ditto
    who did waves of bombay bombings A: ditto

    August 10, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      What's your point?

      August 31, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • fatal42

      Sounds to me ,when the locals said they don't want a mudslime mosque there just maybe they where serious ???

      September 1, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    August 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs! ,

      August 10, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  4. maximillion

    Good. Now, get started on the other Satanic houses of worship. Religion is just wrong in so many ways! It's hateful and demented, not to mention, divisive. Accept that our creation is a mystery and stop going around saying YOU and YOUR religion knows it all.

    August 9, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  5. Ash

    And this mosque escaped the big tornado?

    August 9, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  6. Ash

    Why is it that every country that has even a small percentage of Muslims has terror problems? Muslims create terror havens in countries like India.... go to Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kanpur and so on in India and you will see areas where cops would not even enter.
    Muslims always argue about how good them are... when every other race including Hindus, Christians, Jews, Sikhs and Buddhists reconcile with all, Muslims seem incapable of doing that.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • Shakira

      So that makes it ok to destroy the Mosque in your opinion? Guess Freedom of Religion does not apply to Muslim in your world.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Ben

      Because in the western culture the definition of terrorism is whatever Muslims do. Any other act of terrorism done by non-Muslims is simply murder, mass murder, violent crime, etc, but never called terrorism.

      August 28, 2012 at 7:32 am |
  7. Reality

    If this were a Shiite mosque and there is proof that it was arson, then there is a high probability that the arsonist was a Sunni Muslim. And vice-versa if it were a Sunni mosque.

    But to date, arson has not been listed as a cause.

    More on the Sunni-Shiite global feud (e.g. Syria and also Iraq) is available at your request.

    August 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Shakira

      No chance it could be the same person who tried to burn it down July 4th right? No chance it could be a person who hates Muslim and has no idea about the Shiia-Sunni split right? When the investigation is done I am willing to be it is arson, however seeing your posts and how you hate Islam that would be difficult for you to accept wouldn't it.

      August 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Reality

      Or it could be as simple as a failed electric switch.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Shakira

      I seriously doubt that as the first attempt to burn it down was caught on camera, that wasn't a faulty switch that was an arson attempt. This is the person or person's coming back to finish the job which they did. If this was a Church/Synagogue would you be saying it was an accident? I doubt it.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  8. Shakira

    It is sad to see that many on this board think that Freedom of Religion is ok, except for Muslims. Freedom of Religion is a basic tenant of America yet many of you would like to cherry pick that. The hatred is sad, I wonder how many of you have actually met a Muslim in real life or been to a Mosque to see for yourself. I am a born and raised American, proud of it but I am also a Muslim and proud of that. To burn any house of worship is wrong. This is America where Freedom of Religion is protected. You can bring up other countries but they are NOT America and do not subscribe, well in theory, to the tenants we do. Stop comparing other countries to America, it didnt happen there it happened here.

    August 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Reality

      A safe and easy solution:

      From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi----–

      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      The First Five of the 77 Branches:

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
      be upon him) alone."

      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

      Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

      August 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Jim

      There are Muslim services being held in some god forsaken sand dune on the other side of the planet, please pack up your sorry a$$ and move back home! If your a muslum born here in America take a vacation and see what Muhamad has done for you lately. Enjoy the burned out cities, mud huts and camel jockies. Us simple folks love a good bon fire and 9/11 is still very fresh in our thoughts. KMA

      August 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Shakira

      @ Jim, no thanks I have no desire to leave. College football season is coming up and its the happiest time of the year. I am sorry you are so filled with hatred you can't distinguish between fanatics and the every day Muslim here in America. Your world must be a very small and unhappy place to live in.

      August 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  9. Reality



    Jesus and his family had/has warmongering Michael, gay Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family) (As did the probable red-neck "Christian" arsonist)

    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

    "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Nadim

      This is called Christian terrorism...on setting ablaze HOLY worship places of other religion...but they never come in highlight...all blame goes to only ISLAM..How partial this Mass Media...news channels...all hypocrites..away from humanity..what prayer they will offer to only one GOD...with Prophet Jesus (PBH) as his messenger... they are ignorant by beliving Jesus (PBH) as GOD...gross mistake..

      August 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Reality

      Turning to the media, ancient and recent:

      As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "
      o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT
      BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.
      The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

      25) BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:27am EDT
      (Reuters) – A suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • The Cohen

      If Christians in Joplin Mo. do not come forward and pay for the complete restoration of that Mosque then they should consider ex Communicating themselves from the body of Christ... seriously; How dare any Christian in the United States allow such hatred of Muslims to exist..While I hate the Muslim religion can never harm any single Muslim; many Christians hate the presence of Muslims because they are in our craw and we haven't yet learned how to get them our of our craw.. LOL

      that is to say, how to persuade them that the gospel of Christ is true...this is because the nine gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 :1-11 is largely unavailable to most Christians... because there is a great lack of love... love for Jesus and for his word and then for everyone else..
      Love the Lord they God with all thy heart mind strength and your neighbor as yo love yourself....
      There is another reason why I feel as I do... This is typical of what happens in Muslim Countries to Christians ...

      We are not like those hateful religions bigots in all the Muslims countries who do that to Christians...at least we're not supposed to be... 🙁 🙁

      August 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Jim

      Some Christians are just stupid as they fall into this mind thought that they need to walk on egg shells as not to offend anyone. Well there are many Christians that refuse to be door matts and see things a bit differently. Send money to move them back to the middle east, their kind is not welcome here. David slew goliath and didnt buy him lunch or give him a hug. Sometime God wants you to kick a$$, so man up.

      August 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  10. Kevin

    This is just a shame. I pray for the Joplin community.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • The Cohen

      If you got money then send what you can to that Mosque please 🙂
      let us not be as they are in Muslim nations where Christians get this kind of treatment...

      August 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  11. Satan

    See Mohammed and Jesus dock their peni.ses together at saladandchips.com.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  12. steve

    jecd u r the idiot wake up and see what is going on in this country

    August 7, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Let us see – you are the one who wrote a ridiculous rant just below, and then replied to the reply from jecd in a new post. I am putting my money on both idiot and tard.

      August 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  13. myweightinwords

    It saddens me that as a country we have produced people capable of targeting people to kill for what they believe or how they appear, that somehow it has become acceptable in the minds of any of our citizens to burn down a religious building or shoot people inside them for any reason at all.

    I also am saddened by the fact that most who would advocate such violence do not take the time to learn about the faith that frightens them so, they merely act upon the misconceptions fed to them by news media and movies and their own faith leaders who likewise know nothing about the other religion. It's a sad, vicious circle.

    And those who would use as justification the fact that some terrorists hide behind the cloak of Islam to further their terror might do well to remember that every time someone acts badly while wearing the cloak of Christianity, you are the first to tell anyone who will listen that that person wasn't a true Christian. Why then will you not believe a Muslim who says the same thing of those terrorists who co-opt Islam?

    August 7, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Merry Prankster

      I couldn't have said it better myself, Thanks.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Because the body of Christianity will publicly deplore such violence as aberrant while Islamic clergy promote it.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Many Christian clergy actively encourage it and the body of Islam deplores it.

        What's your point?

        August 8, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Bill Deacon said:

      "Because the body of Christianity will publicly deplore such violence as aberrant while Islamic clergy promote it."

      Lol. No, regardless what is being deplored (or even encouraged for that matter), Christianity will be using its expertise – speaking with a forked tongue.

      August 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • The Cohen

      there is no justification for this in the Usa.

      August 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  14. yawash

    hehhee thats shame united states of america making herslef the world officer who is protecting ghte rights of minority all over the world while they cant protect the minority on their own lands, thats shame that we still see hatred people in this free country which that means there are many people still ignorant and they believe in killing other people if they different in religion and race, thats shame on the people who accept that kind of work before shame on the fbi who didnot do their jops to stop somehting like what happened specially this is the second attempt this month, im sure muslims can pray any where even withouth a masjid and they can pray on any ground without mics and buildings
    thats shame

    August 7, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  15. p41

    It was just a lowly jew as usual.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  16. steve

    but who would get the blame. christians dont burn down their own church so would u blame islam or baptist or holy rollers. come on wake up this has been going on for centuries and only a site like CNN can make it a terrorist attack. Look at the front page picture of a guy next to a swastika for the shootings yes it was wrong but why is always the same with your liberal blame someone else take stock of yourselves and quit blamming everyone else for your failures

    August 7, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • JECD


      August 7, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • LivinginVA

      White "Christians" burned down black churches in this country within my memory. The FBI was involved.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • LivinginVA

      The FBI has used the term "domestic terrorism" since at least the Oklahoma City bombing.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • myweightinwords

      but who would get the blame. christians dont burn down their own church so would u blame islam or baptist or holy rollers.

      There was a time when white Christians burned down the churches of African-American Christians, so you're wrong. Christians do turn on other Christians, and yes, Muslim extremists turn on other Muslims.

      come on wake up this has been going on for centuries and only a site like CNN can make it a terrorist attack.

      I don't think I would call it a terrorist attack...maybe if the mosque had been burned during services, but this is easily a hate crime.

      Look at the front page picture of a guy next to a swastika for the shootings yes it was wrong but why is always the same with your liberal blame someone else take stock of yourselves and quit blamming everyone else for your failures

      Who is blaming someone else? What failure? The only person to blame here is the person who set the fire. The only failure here is not catching the guy after the first attempt.

      I think you are trying to assign much broader issues to what should be a pretty simple, straightforward criminal investigation.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • s kel

      steve you wasted space on here with your wrong ,incorrect, right wing so called "facts". What a fool you are.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • The Cohen

      The Christians in Joplin MO. should step forwards and begin to pay for the restoration..

      even if Muslms burned down their on building which I do not believe in this case Christians shoudl pay for it... Jesus woudl be so pleased if they did..

      August 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
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About this blog

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.