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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. pedophile priest

    Just close the comments already cnn.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Jimbo

      Why? You don't want to see how many commenters actually feel happy about a possible christian terrorist act on a muslim community? I'm sitting here reading these comments and wondering how people don't even realize they are acting just like the animal extremist muslims from the middle east. It's a wonder that some of these people even have the brain power to type on a computer.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Pika

      Both Muslim extremist and christian extremist have one thing in common.....dumb and uneducated.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Simon

      I don't personaly agree with Islam but would never wish or feel good about this crazyness.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  2. Zeb

    If Michelle Bachmann is to be taken seriously, I guess all churches ought to be investigated for possible domestic terrorists.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Michele Bachmann is a weak-minded fearful and hateful Christian. She's what I call an extremist Christard.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • bspurloc

      christian taliban at its best....
      MR JESUS didnt preach hate and intolerance WHY do his "FOLLOWERS"???

      August 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  3. Jeffision

    Not surprising in a country that always has to have an official "enemy"...someone to make smaller so that we can feel taller.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  4. lynda

    On another page, there's a story about a 40 year old Afghani man marrying an 11 year old girl. The story also mentions a 25 year old marrying a 6 year old! Sorry, but I cannot call people who practice such a life in this day and age civilized. Take your beliefs and go back home, in peace of course.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • ME II

      ... and this was happening in the mosque in MO?.... No? ... then what's your point?

      August 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Of course, the important words here are "in Afghanistan". There is no indication that American muslims are marrying children to old men. Of course, in the United States we have radical off-shoots of the Mormon church doing exactly that. Where do you think they should go?

      August 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Ryder

      Lynda, on "another page," I read that Catholic priests were molesting young boys. Time for them to go?

      August 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Allen Hussein

      Meanwhile a 40 year old Christian murders 7 sikhs who probably was too stupid to know that Sikhs aren't Muslims. But I know, Christianity is a "religion of peace." Yeah right, wingnuts of any faith are dangerous.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • sh04

      And what about Catholic priests molesting little boys?? Are you suggesting that these isolated people reflect all people of these faiths? Let me guess, you live in a small town and do not have more than a high school education?

      August 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • bspurloc

      Do u have any Idea how old POCAHONTAS is with a KID on your Golden Dollar?
      of course u dont cuz that is US HISTORY and foxfacts doesnt teach history.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • photogrrl

      and if you read through that entire article about marriage of underage girls...it also points out that this practice happens in CHRISTIAN communities in Ethiopia...and Hindu communities in India...so what's your point?

      August 7, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  5. countrans

    Was this an act of terrorism and has it been proven?

    August 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      No the mosque burned down in the middle of the night. The building is a total loss.

      There was an arson attempt on the 4th of July.

      Results of the investigation are pending. What do you think happened?

      August 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  6. Coflyboy

    Sad. ...and to think our country was built on the idea of religious freedom. These acts have a similarity to the Nazi Kristalllnacht, and are in no way condoned by the average American citizen.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      I wish you were right. You will see a lot more of this at a faster clip because we continue to ignore how we can accommodate population growth and an inability to educate our people against christardian hard-of-thinking.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • bspurloc

      religious freedom as long as its MY religion

      August 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  7. lroy

    A building, a church-a mosque, a synagogue is just that-a building...an inanimate object. It doesn't have any feelings, can't talk back, can't even scratch itself. So what the building burnt for whatever reason and whoever did it. As long as people weren't hurt. Religion is not about buildings or icons but about faith and tradition.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Nadja

      No, a building cannot feel that is true. But the people who inhabit it can, and if someone did purposely burn it down out of spite or hatred or whatever the reason, those people do feel a loss because something important to them has been intentionally taken away to drive them out and outcast them.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Zeb

      So presumably you won't have a problem if your neighborhood church is torched? Yes, these are just buildings, as you say, but the act was committed against what the building represents.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Iroy,

      People may not have died, but they have been 'hurt'.

      They have to find another place to worship. They have to rebuild their mosque. That will take money and with pending arson investigations their fire insurance might not be easy to renew.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Well let's just see if this turns out to be the neighborhood kids having a prank. You tard.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  8. Erisian

    But you told us to be scared of these people. Remember cab drivers by day, suicide bombers by night? Nevermind that your chances of being killed by an Islamic hijacker are comparable to that of being eaten by a bear. We're acting exactly how you told us to.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Mary

      The muslims probably did it to draw attention away from something else.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Is slanderous gossip one of your christian virtues, Mary?

      August 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      very helpful: "hard-of-thinking" Mary!

      August 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Jarsbait

      Mary, I'm sure that's it. Sheesh!

      August 7, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  9. YeHaaaawww

    Oh Misery....living up to your name once more....since I left, that place has become an incubator for Michelle Bachmann and her drones...

    August 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  10. smeeker

    Does anyone remember when the muzzies killed 5,000 Americans? I do. I wonder why the FBI never offered a reward when my car was vandalized and totally ruined. I was a victim so didn't I warrant such aggressive efforts to find the perp?

    August 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • ME II

      Although, it seems that someone like you might garner a lot of hate, a "hate crime" usually involve hatred of a group not an individual. That's probably why the FBI isn't offering a reward.

      p.s Remember when the chrizzy killed 168 Americans, I do.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Nadja

      You talk as if every single Muslim in the world conspired together to carry out the 9/11 attacks. There are crazies in every religion (Westboro Baptist for example), but they should not be taken as representative of them all. People like you that label all Muslims as terrorists by nature are usually the same ones who have probably never met or known one, and only know what the government tells you to believe about them.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Zeb

      @nadja: correction – .. believe only what right-wing talk radio and faux news tells them to...

      August 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Smarterest Human

      "muzzies"???? LMAO only a moron uses a slanderous term like that.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  11. Randall

    Well at least now those who always try to pin blame on somebody for God's wrath after a natural disaster will know why God targeted Joplin.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Tina

      Please, tell us, you who are so knowledgeable about God!

      August 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  12. TakebackAmerica

    Americans are striking back at Fraud of "Multiculturalism and Diversity"

    August 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      more like biting their own hand by trying to go around basic const*itutional princples. you tard.

      August 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • ME II

      Not certain, but it sounds you and your ilk never had America. Go home and read the Consti.tution again.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Either you are a troll, or you are an idiot. The United States was built from diversity and multiculturalism, upon the principles of individual freedom and equality. You sound more Al Qaeda than American.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  13. David S

    With the open border issues that this president with his wars and bring all his moslim clan here and you wonder why americans are tired of so many moslims with THERE hatred of america being taught to there kids. GO figure!!!!!! America needs to take care of america and not bring every problem in the world here.....

    August 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Congrats to you IDIOT

      It is hard to top all the stupid things I have read today but congrats to you for doing it.

      August 6, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Bill C

      The Muslims you hate are Americans too. It is people like you who are destroying America

      August 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • RepZen

      nothing you say has any basis in fact or reality. Why don't you try to educate yourself instead of taking Glen becks word as that of God.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Coflyboy

      Learn to spell and learn grammar, ignoramus.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Jennifer

      You are a complete moron. I am with Coflyboy- Grammar check. And those "Muslims" are Americans.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  14. wally

    we as muslims are peaceful people they burned down a mosque so what? we rebuild our religion is over a billion strong one inbred will not stop us ... in arabic i will say allahsamhoo which means god forgive him thats all we can say were not lunatics the only thing i suggest if you want the truth on muslims dont watch faux news or dont watch any bias media! friend a muslim and ask him why is the news saying this? and i promise he will have a justification for it which in most cases is true... go to amazon and download a movie called americaneast. with tony shaloub great movie but because it made islam look good it was never allowed on dvd and yes the funds where available !!

    August 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Dan

      LOL

      August 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Jay

      You've proven on a global scale, you're not to be trusted.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Naz

      You could be a peaceful person, but not Islam.... Read these Quran verses ....
      Qur'an:9:5 "Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war."
      Ishaq:324 'Fight non Muslims so that there is no more rebellion, and religion, all of it, is for Allah only. Allah must have no rivals.'"
      Surah 47:4 says:  Therefore, WHEN YOU MEET THE UNBELIEVERS (non Muslims), SMITE AT THEIR NECKS; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them).

      Hello!!!! Wake up!!!

      August 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Jim

      calling Islam violent... really? In the Judeo-Christian tradition we are REQUIRED BY GOD to stone our kids for disobedience and force virgins to marry their r@pists. Those are the LAWS of GOD handed down by Moses himself. So, before you throw rocks, make sure your belief system is not operating from a glass house.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • bayareaguy

      @Naz
      would you care to give the full context too, if possible. I mean, at least the full event or 4-5 verses before and after so we can see the full picture. I will really appreciate that.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  15. jo an

    Joplin was rebuilt by every creed and color and now this???So Sad....

    August 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  16. pinko

    The Tea Party patriots are busy this week.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • tony

      Take reason away from treason and you get "T".

      August 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  17. lalose

    Thanks Michelle...

    August 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  18. just sayin

    Now what are the odds it is a Christian?

    August 6, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Defence

      He was a true American.

      August 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Joshua Ludd

      Pretty good given that its not just the biggest religion in our country, but in our prisons as well.

      August 6, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • ME II

      @Defence,
      "He was a true American."
      You are a true idiot.
      This goes against the entire concept of freedom in America, unless you disagree with the US Consti.tution, that is.

      August 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • TB

      He (or she) might *think* they are a Christian, if in fact they claim to be one, but a true Christian would not do this! I could go on, but you get my point.

      August 6, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Dan

      Joshua Ludd...

      In a country that is overwhelmingly (at least, culturally) Christian, why are you surprised that they would be represented in prison? IN majority Muslim countries, the majority of prisoners are Muslim and in Buddhist countries they are overwhelmingly Buddhist. Shocking! Moron.

      August 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • ME II

      @TB,
      Look up 'No True Scotsman'.

      August 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  19. ron

    A country out of control. If this kind of thing continues the country has a very dim future.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  20. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

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

    Really? After the Wisconsin shootings, what a shock!

    August 6, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      All this xenophobia and hate for people who look or believe differently has to stop.

      August 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
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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.