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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. Arpaio

    Beat it towel heads.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • RedWhite&Blue

      Many towelheads have served in our military side by side with members of my family to defend your freedom-including the freedom to believe in whatever religion each one of us chooses to believe in.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • lucianne

      I'd rather have "towel heads" than people who call other people "towel heads." Maybe you should lead the way to elsewhere.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The 'towel heads' are better Americans and better people than the 'skin heads'.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      want to try saying something that might show an inkling of education there dude?

      August 6, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Not GOPer, I don't disagree with your assessment but am wondering if you have a more complete list of which groups of Ameicans are better than others, as in, do you have a more complete list and ranking?

      August 6, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Muhammad

      I seek refuge in Allah in order to be saved from Satan the rejected one. In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. Oh Allah I seek refuge in you from the mischief of the Dajjal (Antichrist)

      Oh Allah may the next tornado that hits the evil people of Joplin strike the house of the person who set the mosque on fire.

      From Allah we have all come from and to Allah we shall all return

      August 7, 2012 at 3:42 am |
  2. larry

    It sounds like people are starting to wake up to what Islam really is. It's about time.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • RedWhite&Blue

      Time for what? Go read the bill of rights again.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Please oh, wise one, tell us please...what is islam?

      August 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      What a tard. probably gets his education from fox news.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  3. Brenda

    All of these hate-filled people are sure helping nothing and making life here get worse and worse. Thanks for nothing, skin heads.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • larry

      read the Koran and wake up.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • RedWhite&Blue

      I have read the Koran, and it contains fewer violent verses than the Bible itself. I suggest you read it again.

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

      Larry, dear, the Bible has many, many portions that are just as bad as anything you will find in the Koran. Onward Christian Soldiers is hardly a peaceful song.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  4. shawn

    I wish people would grow up and think about things before they take action. I hope that whomever started this fire will have to answer to their crimes expeditiously.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  5. Cedar rapids

    Looks like someone out there doesnt believe in freedom of religion.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Islam4fools

      I don't approve of burning of this mosque or discrimination of Muslims; however, Islam is more of a violent cult than a religion.

      Everywhere where there is Islam, there is radicalization of it and violence against non-Muslims.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Bobby Weird

      I4F: Sounds like the "Christians" there in Joplin are some sort of radical cult too. Newsflash to the Confederacy: you lost – deal with it. None of the non-whites are going to be leaving so you should try and get along with them.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • RedWhite&Blue

      Apparently you are misinformed. Islam is not a cult. It is one of the Abrahamic religions and even Pope John Paul as well as the catholic church recognized it as such. It is the second largest religion in the world with 1.6 billion people and is also the fastest growing one.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      "Sounds like the "Christians" there in Joplin are some sort of radical cult too."

      well lets face it christianity started off as a personality cult.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Dianner

      Islam4fools: Well done imbecile. You fell for all the lies and propaganda you were fed on a daily basis by Israel. Jews brainwash you so that the status-quo continues, they make Americans eliminate their enemies and receive both sympathy and billions of dollars aid every year on top. Without your kind, they would be doomed. You are the imbecile who thinks that Israel is this country's ally while it's actually Americans' main enemy, this country owes every bad to Israel and would be living in peace with a far better economy and credibility throughout the world without Israel as a friend.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Red White And Blue
      ALL religions started as cults...there really is little difference.

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

      These days, the only radicals I see and hear about on a daily basis are hateful Christians, not Muslims. I think you're being paranoid and looking for a scapegoat, like this arsonist. Just chill out, learn a bit about other religions (in an open-minded fashion), and I think you'll sleep better at night.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      freedom FROM religion would be better for this country filled with weak-minded, fearful, uneducated tards. But yes, the const*itution is being ignored.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Mike

      You are so right. Freedom of religion applies only to real religions, not violent cults like Islam.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      @Mike. Unless you are joking, I have to assume you are christarded.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Dr. Sikes

      Anyone who thinks the history of Islam is more violent than the history of Christianity just needs a basic history lesson. For hundreds of years under the Inquisition, Muslim lands offered Jews and supposedly "heretical" Christians a safe haven from mass torture and executions.

      FACT: NO religion has a monopoly on violence and abuse.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  6. The Truth

    This is a sad country...instead of coming together and mourning the countries loses we are becoming a country of even bigger racists and judgmental fools... The God I serve would never accept any of this. And some of you call yourselves Christians and God fearing people? God will have his way with you.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  7. midogs2

    Something smells fishy here..............................In a pig's sty.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  8. FalseProphet

    Didn't the people of Joplin get the message when God laid waste to their town? Hatred and religious intolerance make baby Jesus cry.....

    August 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • DeeBee

      While I appreciate your disagreement with those that committed arson, people (some of whom I knew) died in that tornado, so cool it.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • midogs2

      Nah............................

      August 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Bobby Weird

      Dee: Interesting that you don't comment on the haters in your town that burned down the mosque. It's good think that the Native Americans didnt have Joplin's level of religious intolerance. It's enough to make baby Jesus bawl his eyes out.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • DeeBee

      Bobby: Interesting that you didn't notice that I said, in the very post you are criticizing, that I disagree with those that committed the arson.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  9. Walter J

    Good solid god fearing teabaggers and republicans. This is what America will look like if the rePUKElicans are elected.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  10. Dr. Sikes

    Where is the outcry against Michelle Bachmann and her type who just stoke hatred of religious minorities with their witch hunts??

    August 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Agreed. one of the most dangerous, reptilian christian extremists today.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • shawn

      What witch hunt? Oh, I get it. You've got to blame someone specific and your narrow-minded simplistic thought process only gets you so far before you pick up your pitchfork and torch.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • RedWhite&Blue

      It is time for Bachman to be ousted from Congress. People like her are hatemongerers, and they should be replaced in the next elections.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  11. nonredneck

    There is a certain irony in that Muslims do this to non-Muslims in Muslim dominated countries. Whether those Muslims are guilty of that, I don't know, but I wonder if they do anything to stop the violence committed by Muslims against non-Muslims?

    August 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • bloggerbird

      Muslims burn churches? Again you're generalizing too when you say that muslims do this to christians. Do all Muslims do this? I've never burned a church. I've never harmed a christian. I actually have more christian friends than I do muslims.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Dr. Sikes

      Assuming that you are a non-Muslim, why don't you ask the same question of yourself: Have YOU done anything to stop hateful people from burning mosques in this country???

      August 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • maltytasker

      I agree that hatred and intolerance by Muslims toward non-Muslims exists in other countries, but I would like to believe that in America we should be better than that.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Shakira

      Really because I am a Muslim and have never burned down a Church or Synagogue. I have far more Christian friends then Muslims. Try to climb out of your little, narrow box and see the big world.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  12. Jose M. Pulido

    It is not known whether this fire was an accident, arson or an inside job in order to claim building-owner insurance payments.
    "We are going to find a place probably to continue our service to God" a member of such mosque said. I think what he really mean to say was:
    "We are going to find a place probably to continue our service to Islam in order to be able to plan terrorist acts against the USA, Israel and the rest of the free and Christian countries.
    If it turns out to be an outsider who ignited the mosque, it still is not justified. Nevertheless, Islam is worthless, useless and harmful to the USA and the rest of the world. God can save the human soul only through His Son Jesus who came to the world 600 years before child molester Mohammed. Therefore, any elimination of places of Islamist terrorism conspiracies is beneficial to the USA and to the rest of humankind.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • DeeBee

      Despite your hate and ignorance, you managed to get one thing right: there is a difference between a "free" country and a "Christian" one.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Dr. Sikes

      The USA DOES NOT ALLOW RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION, PERIOD. Just because a single zealot of one religion like doesn't happen to like another religion is no justification for infringing on their health (physical or mental, in the case of your hateful remarks), safety, or freedom to worship ANY WAY THEY WANT TO!!

      August 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Dr. Sikes

      The USA DOES NOT ALLOW RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION, PERIOD. Just because a single zealot of one religion like you doesn't happen to like another religion is no justification for infringing on their health (physical or mental, in the case of your hateful remarks), safety, or freedom to worship ANY WAY THEY WANT TO!!

      August 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      OMG some one done awoke Carrie's grandpappy!

      You tard. Either you slept through basic high-school government class, or you came here from somewhere else without learning the basics – in which case stfu. (Well, just in case you are a child, go right now and show your parents what you wrote here – right now!)

      August 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Michael Hardesty

      You are a disgusting, stupid bigot of the very mentality that burned down the mosque and machine-gunned those innocents at the Sikh Temple yesterday because that stupid bigot thought that they were Muslims. Slink back into your rathole and take your Jesus Cult with you that has killed millions throughout the last 2,000 years.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • RedWhite&Blue

      Jesus would not approve of what you are saying.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Un Paleed

      Jose Paleed
      Clean the poison that dripped from your mouth when commenting as you did above. That is not what Jesus would expect from you.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Muhammad

      You are worthless and in the hereafter you will regret you stupid comments. Maybe even when the next big tornado hits Joplin.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:33 am |
  13. Tony

    I have a hard time imagining a Black- Blue-eyed Left handed Gay Jew... Maybe its just me...

    August 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  14. BuckUpUS

    Tweet !

    August 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • RedWhite&Blue

      Sad. Nothing to tweet home about.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  15. khrog

    what is so ironic about mental picture white Christian American men seem to have of Muslims is that the picture is so similar to ultra-conservative American Christians –as opposed to urban, liberal and cosmopolitan.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  16. BuckUpUS

    Like !

    August 6, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Smarterest Human

      Not so much!

      August 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • RedWhite&Blue

      Thumbs down. Hope the FBI track down whoever did that and they meet the full force of the law.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  17. BuckUpUS

    Good !

    August 6, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Smarterest Human

      Bad!

      August 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  18. Smarterest Human

    Ahhh..ignorant rednecks strike again...

    August 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  19. John N Florida

    Put a name to it, Demonize it, and SHEEPLE will KILL it.
    Blacks, Jews, Blue Eyes, Left Handed, Muslim, Sikh (thinking it's part of Muslim), or Gay.
    As long as the ignorant can't be schooled to the level of the masses, these things will happen.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Gosh, I can't argue with that. I would just say that people want to ignore some of the major factors that cause this problem to grow at an alarming rate. One is the inability to, in just about all ways, meet the needs of a population growing at an alarming rate. Another is the dark side of the information age. People continue to believe there is nothing wrong with people of all ages watching or hearing about violence all day long in one form or another (whether it is for entertainment or some real drama in their lives). Combine these things with little education and guess what people – start getting used to seeing things like this happen at a faster and faster rate.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  20. 4pease

    And these people want federal assistance rebuilding their community of hate?

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

      What are you even talking about?

      August 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Shakira

      Are you that stupid, did you even know anyone from that Mosque, did you know its Iman or you just spitting back what Bachman says about Muslims.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:20 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.