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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. Mar

    There are a handful of people commenting on this article and look how many hate filled, bigoted, uneducated people have made statements. This type of thing will not go away. Not as long as we have politicians and high powered Christian extremists pushing their own negative agendas. Going by many of the ugly, shameful comments, it is an example of how their message affects people. Their followers just spew venom without even understanding what they are taking about.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  2. Peikovianyii

    There are more Muslim victims of militant Islam than anyone. They leave the Muslim world for a better life. They are our best source of information about their former homelands. People forget the leader of the Allied armies in Europe during WW2 was of German descent, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Just as America had better Germans than did Germany, we will have better Muslims than does the Muslim world. In the meantime, keep the drones coming.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  3. godisthelight

    anyone out there who is reading this: know that this is GOD's will. GOD wanted this to happen and he does not take kindly to non believers. He is love if you love is right

    August 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      wrong answer but thanks for playing.

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

      uhh.. what?

      August 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Jessica Jilonson

      Maybe your god will sleep with your sister, like you probably do and create another worthless piece of garbage like yourself who we can use to clean the bathrooms on I-44

      August 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      "He is love if you love is right" lol.. You tard. Did you get one of those dudes from Bread to help you with those lyrics?

      Weak-minded, fearful little retard. Start taking some responsibility for your pathetic life and make some real contribution to society by shedding that christardation.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • stevenbeto

      Just as the extremes of weather do not emanate from the right hand of God, bigotry and hatred are the right hand of Satan. Our salvation is not with what we take into our own hands, but how we handle irrationality and fear.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Muhammad

      God had nothing to do with the arson. God had the tornado destroy the evil people of this town and gave others a chance to repent. In-sha;lah Allah will bring another tornado to finish of Joplin's evil people

      August 7, 2012 at 2:20 am |
  4. 0rangeW3dge

    Breivik, American-style.

    You really need to control your white people, USA

    August 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  5. OJ

    May be they though it is a Sikh temple and burned it.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  6. real american

    just for Ashley and other libs info-islam is a Totalitarian Political System not anywhere near a religion--total control and domination of the world is their/moHAMmads goal

    August 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • OJ

      So are American interpretation of christianty.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • bloggerbird

      You dropped your tin foil hat.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  7. Kris

    What is wrong with people?

    August 6, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Sofa King

      Keep reading and you will see.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  8. Alex

    Organized religion – today, still the root of evil

    August 6, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  9. elvinmerij

    To non-Americans out there: please don't negatively label all Americans. The vast majority of people in America are good. They care for their neighbors, they are not racists or bigots, and they do not own guns.

    Sadly, while the number who are the opposite is extremely small, their actions generate a lot of media attention.

    Please don't make negative judgments about Americans based simply upon these media reports.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Jessica Jilonson

      I agree 100%. People listen, I live here.....I know many of the people who worship at the Mosque. They are professional, family oriented, good people. It is sad that these comment strings draw out so many of our American idiots, bigots and just angry people who have nothing else to do. We should be helping them, not saying these evil things. After all, almost all of them helped Joplin after the Tornado devastated our town! COME ON PEOPLE! WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AMERICAN!!??? DOES IT MEAN ANYTHING ANYMORE!??

      August 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Jessica
      Part of what it means to be american is to utilize our freedom of speech. Even if it is something you disagree with, I will fight ton the death their right to say it, no matter how stupid they are for saying it.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Muhammad

      There are so many negative comments because the majority of Americans are no good people who deserve a good tornado every now and then to purge the country on its evil. –bring the storms Allah

      August 7, 2012 at 2:23 am |
  10. Joe Plumber

    Not one photo?

    August 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • OJ

      Photos convey more than words. It is important always to potray muslim as evil killers. The system should not give them a chance to show the amount of hate and attacks that happens on them everywhere in the world.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  11. vexxy

    I don't believe the Bible has an asterisk for "love they neighbor" that states you should only love people of your own beliefs.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  12. Jethro

    Strange how a story about a mosque being burnt to the ground still brings out anti-Muslim comments.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  13. real american

    bill--read your post-full of flaws–most likely you've never been out of the basement of your 3 moms single -wide

    August 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  14. Sorry But True

    Sorry but true....There are almost as many illegal muslims here than there are hispanics...they are just bolder and think we are stupid so they get away with it. Doesn't other me a bit that the mosque was burnt, muslims need to go to there home country. I'm tired of being "politically corrrect". We have to keep our mouths shut because we may hurt someone else's feelings.

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

      It doesn't bother you that someone's house of worship was burnt to the ground? You might want to think about that.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • PikeRover

      "Give me your tired, your poor,
      Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
      The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
      I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

      I guess the ol' girl should be torn down or the poem amended to "White Christian males only"

      August 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Ashley

      Someone burning down a house of worship doesn't bother you? you must be a terrible person.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Matt

      Hey Sorry But True, You are a complete F-@-#-#-#-&. I'm a US Marine and my best friend is a fellow Marine who is a Muslim. "Muslims need to go back to their home country." Hey man, how did you survive kindergarten? If I were Stateside right now, I'd get my guys together and #@$# you UP! If you have the nuts to say what you said on here to my face...bring it. I'm not fighting for a "Sorry But True" America – I'm fighting for an America FREE from people like YOU.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • sh04

      If that's the way you think then you should go back to your home country, as the U.S. was not founded by "your people". We're all immigrants in one way or another.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  15. real american

    opps –another islamic political jihadist training center gone–some liberal had nothing else to do that night

    August 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • OJ

      The fastes growing religion with 25% of the world population is muslim. I don't think what you think has any impact on us or even on the views and politics of your country. Muslim has more say in America than the white trash that burned the mosque.

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

      Most likely it was a "real American" "conserviative".

      August 7, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  16. bill

    Hatred breeds more hatred. At the end no one remembers how it all started. I want to tell everyone that in Muslim north Africa and the middle east there were thousand of Christian and Jews of various nationalities. Egypt had the most. No church was ever burned and all faiths and nationalities were treated with respect. I was one of them. Born in Muslim Sudan and did study in Egypt. A good Muslim to me was better than a good Christian. When did all this hatred of faiths started? With the creation of the state of Israel. Muslims witnessed another crusade supported by the U.S and Europe. That followed by invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan..Will this hatred ever end, probably not. How many centuries the did it take the Christians to accept the Jews and their faith. You have to go way back in time. Check treatment of Jews in the south about a hundred years ago. lets respect each other, after all we are all humans created by same God. Let him be the judge and who knows maybe one day we will all hear his voice heard around the world. He will most likely say, " behave children and play nice".

    August 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Bill.. We are all humans, but a god had nothing to do with it. I agree I see no way that we can experience peace with religions and their associated gods being of more importance to the adherents than the other humans on the planet. We have religions that think they are chosen, some that think only they are responsible to convert all others at any cost, some that are harmless and some that are just in for the money. you were no more born a Muslim than born a stamp collector. The hates and distrusts were instilled by the religion at an early stage..you are not allowed to think beyond the box that is religion. Most are the same and so how to you break that mistrust and learned hatred....

      August 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  17. Ed

    Maybe someone forgot to turn the coffee pot off.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • paperjihad

      @Ed

      Perhaps, but the first fire was ruled as arson.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  18. NQuest

    I guess they are all guilty by association!

    Should all Christians be viewed as Nazis, simply by association?

    August 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • steve

      Nazis weren't Christians.

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

      BTW, Hitler claimed to be doing the "Work of the Lord", in his biography. Does that make him a believer, if we go by his claims?

      August 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      no steve.

      Most Germans at the time of WW2 were Christians. Therefore, a good number of Nazis were Christians.

      The various items... Nazi belt buckles and ornaments with 'god mitt uns' on them, religious art... all show that at least some Nazis were Christians.

      Study history.

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

      You need to watch Shoah. One Jewish survivor of the Warsaw ghetto said that Warsaw Christians "chewed us up and spat us out."

      August 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • NQuest

      Steve believes everything his pastor tells him. He is too aftraid/ashamed to discover real history for hmself.

      The Holocaust would not be possible without the help of these so-called "Christians" – they thought it was the Christian thing to do ... you may disagree or deny it. Atrocities were also committed in South, Central and North America by these so-called "good" Christains ... centuries before the Holocaust.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  19. Realist

    Xenophobic and inflammatory political discourse bearing its fruits...once again. History is littered with examples of mass media and politicians joining in a nationalist/racist cause that singles out a group of people based on race, religion, and nationality with dire consequences.
    This is precisely what was happening in 1930's Germany, after the Nazis took power. A Jew was blamed for the burning of the German Parliament (Reichstag) and politicians/media inflammed the rhetoric that laid the foundation for the random attacks on Jews, burning of the synagogues, and, later, the Holocaust. American Muslims should realize that if they remain silent, uninvolved and disfranchised in the political system they will be at the mercy of people like Michelle Bachmann, Peter King, and other Islamophobes. Jews learned that lesson very well...and now they control the discourse in the U.S. What's ironic (and sad), however, is that it's the Jews who are pushing this Islamophobic agenda. They truly have gone full circle.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  20. stevenbeto

    Show me that this Mosque or any of its members have ever committed a crime against your community or this nation.
    Show me why any single Mosque or member should have to pay for the crimes someone else committed.
    Show me the laws in Missouri against bigotry and arson.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Pika

      I'm sure there are laws against arson, probably not against bigotry though. This is the USA, we can be bigots if we want to but just don't expect good reactions from it.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Kevin

      Agreed. Just because they are of the same religion as people who dislike the USA does not make them the same. Look at Timothy Mcveigh, he is a christian who did harm or the Nazis, who did horrible things to the Jewish people and other groups (although not all Germans living in Germany at the time were Nazis). Does this mean all Christians are evil? No. It means that there are some who have taken their faith down a path of hatred and destruction.

      In my opinion anyone is capable of great good or great evil. It all depends on their choices and their state of mind.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:39 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.