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. Lizzy10

    Once more. In America, there is Freedom of Religion. When you deny one religion, you deny them all. I like living in America, I like being free to worship (or not) where I want. Letting a religion worship isn't going to turn the country into a theocracy, that's where all Americans can agree, because every 4 years we have the ability to overthrow our government peacefully and if anyone tries to turn us into a theocracy, we can vote em out.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • AGuest9

      That's a nice thought, but we were forced to accept a president by the Supreme Court. His 8 years of theocracy caused creationism to take hold in schools, a failed education policy, two wars, a "big brother" program that would have horrified Orwell, and an incredible deficit. Eight years prior to that, the deficit was reduced and government was made smaller, only to have all of that work undone by his successor.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  2. DNH12

    People like Just call me Lucifer and sherri990 are really people at the bottom of the barrel... uneducated, dumb, racists and if Christian (God Bless????), are really not practicing Christian beliefs... there is nothing Christian in anything they have said. They are our version of the American Taliban... stereotyping whole groups of people, not wanting to educate themselves (probably not more than a high school education if that) and showing intolerance to anything different than them... gee don't they sound like our own home-brewed Taliban? "Talibans" serve no worthy function in this life and should take all measures and eliminate themselves.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      I would mostly agree, but regarding

      "are really not practicing Christian beliefs"

      This is nothing new. It may have not been as bad when you were growing up, but there have been many times in history back to say – oh, my – back to the beginning of Christianity when Christians were very un-Christ-like. Let's see the various inquisitions were in the middle, so maybe we should start there. Well, you see my point. But yes, Christian extremism is way out of control in the US currently imho.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  3. Buzzz

    Jesus loves the little children.......ALL the children of the world

    August 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Jesus

      They are delicious after all

      August 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  4. evilroyslade

    The ignorant rant about what they can't comprehend and it's obvious some of these bloggers can't comprehend the difference between a religions belief and some of it's extremistts. Jesus would not burn anyone's place of worship. Your not being Christian if you do. Some Missourians have become intolerant and hateful.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  5. mom of 5

    Arson is a crime! I am a Christian! I am of German Jewish desent, and Hitler was not a christian! He was full of hate! Jesus taught us to love! The only hate allowed is hating sin! Not the sinner! Also, I am from the Joplin area and at least 2/3 of the dr's in our area are of middle eastern desent. If you hate because of race good luck if you get sick+go to the hospital! I have had my life saved several times by just such people! Where are true Christians today? I beleve Christ is the only way to heaven, but we must show His love,compassion+mercy in order to be what we are to be!

    August 6, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @mom of 5,

      Hitler certainly did not live by Jesus' teachings but he was rasied Catholic and used religion to get the German people behind him. He frequently spoke of God (in a Christian context) in his speeches. Hitler would have been nothing without the support of ordinary Christian Germans – Catholics and Lutherans alike.

      And yes, I agree with you, arson is a crime and I wonder where the true followers of Jesus are too.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  6. sherri990

    to sh04....again with your nose up in the air. There's is tolerance and then there is stupidity. Sadly, you and zeke (probably another snooty Canadian) and alot of Americans don't see the threat. Muslims are muslims, period. They are all alike. Now go ahead and post another snooty, I'm better and smarter then everyone because I'm Canadian, post. Your arrogance is priceless.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • ol cranky

      Gee Sherri – if all Muslims are the same then I guess all Christians are terrorists (see history of Northern ireland) and torturers (see Spanish Inquisition) and Pedophiles (see Catholic Church scandal)

      August 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • FuqOff

      You are f*****g stupid Sherri990. What makes you say "all muslims are the same"? Are you one of these brain dead people that still thinks Islam is a race? I followed Islam all my life. I was born and raised in America and im as white as a white person can get. (not literally but im white), So what does that make me huh? I haven't blown up a school, church, market etc. So I think your theory is extremely flawed. Why don't you learn something about religion, maybe go back to school and actually get an education before you make stupid idiotic posts. BTW from beginning of 2009 to 2011, of all the terrorist attacts committed around the world, ONE PERCENT WAS COMMITTED BY ISLAM EXTREMISTS! You want to take a guess which religion leads the way?? You ignorant ****

      August 6, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • sh04

      sherry990: I am not replying as a Canadian, I am replying as a Muslim. I am a 29 year old Muslim born and raised in Canada who's also a lawyer and who spends her days helping people of all faiths..including yours. Do you see me as a threat?

      August 6, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  7. Brad T


    That's a link to the suspect last month.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  8. PAUL



    August 6, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  9. Revealed

    How sad people are still uneducated and so naive. And to top it, it happens in a democratic country where the people are meant to be civilised. Religion doesn't kill people, people and cultures do.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Religions give motivation.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • PAUL



      August 6, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Religion is a big time sucker-upper. It makes one hard-of-thinking and scared. It takes time away from one's life that could be spent being more productive or making greater contributions to society. It keeps people from being fully responsible for their actions since they know their religion will excuse them when necessary. It divides people.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Revealed

      Yeah religions motivate people to be good. The select few misunderstand religion and use it. No religion in the world condones violence. But 2 days on the trot only in america eh

      August 6, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      No religion condones violence? Are you high?

      August 6, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Revealed

      I did not want to assume.. but my asumptions were right, you skipped school or dropped out (limited intelligence). No longer replying to you till you get educated.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Wow, talk about dishonest. Take a look at all of Deuteronomy in the bible, or Leviticus. The Quran, even ancient Greek and Roman gods supposedly wanted their followers to make war against eachother (followers of Ares and Athena). The entire purpose for the Norse was to die in battle to have a place in Valhalla.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      Revealed said: "No religion in the world condones violence."

      christarded! actually, even if you are not a christian, you are still christarded (hard-of-thinking).
      Christianity for one condones violence. (Oh, tee-hee, this is one of those rare moments when the bible-thumper says something to not make you think the bible and the word of god are not one and the same. lol.)

      August 6, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  10. Tex71

    The Tea Party types have been having a field day.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  11. Mike

    Insurance fraud.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      I smell a Christard.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • darth cheney

      Intellectual fraud.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  12. PAUL



    August 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  13. TamarS

    well the Show Me state certainly showed us that they, like Wisconsin, have hateful people in their midst. Now will they show the Sikh community human kindess and reach out to them?

    August 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • PAUL



      August 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Edwin

      There's a difference. Here in Wisconsin, this was one lone gunman. But in Missouri, there were repeated arson and vandalism threats. If it were simply one person, the FBI would have caught him.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  14. AM

    "Only CNN attempted continuous coverage yesterday, and I'm grateful that they tried. Yet that coverage was so generally devoid of Sikh voices that it just reminded me how ill-equipped the media are. The "expert" they turned to most often was the sincere but inadequate Eric Marrapodi of CNN's Belief Blog. He kept saying that Sikhs were not Muslims, but were often mistaken for Muslims and "unfairly targeted." The first time he said it, I thought, wow, that's unfortunate phrasing and he'll stop using it after he realizes or someone points out the implication that Muslims can be "fairly" targeted. But no one ever got a clue. Islamaphobia was never mentioned, much less condemned for the ignorance and violence that it spreads."

    an great article you should read about the "unfair" and uneducated coverage we tend to give people of other communities in this country except white people.

    just another white person here.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • PAUL



      August 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      You need to learn to read for comprehension...

      The phrase "unfairly targeted" refers to sikhs not muslims. And any peron or group may be "fairly targeted" depending upon the context of why they are being targeted.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  15. snowdogg

    Real sick people on the loose.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      They may be sick... but they're all mine.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  16. Mortalc01l

    Guarantee you it's a Republican Christian who firebombed the Mosque.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Yeah.... the Holy Lunatics. In the words of one of my personal heroes, Stonewall Jackson... I quote... "Kill 'em all". Burn every church, every temple, mosque, every Q'uran, and every bible. Pleased to meet you... hope you guess my name.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  17. sh04

    Wow I'm not even from the U.S. and am embarrassed by the lack of education and ignorance of some of the people that live there.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Me

      Ignorance is everywhere. Don't be ignorant thinking your country doesn't have it as well.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Seth

      Yeah American's don't value education. Most think that their local church provides the best education there is....it's pretty sad.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • sh04

      Yes, every country does inhibit some degree of ignorance; however, in Canada we are much more tolerable of each other's faiths and appreciate each other's differences. I personally have neither ever heard of any place of worship being burned down in Canada as a "hate crime' nor have I ever heard anyone write or even mutter the types of comments that I am reading today. Real sad.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • sherri990

      Did they fly planes into buildings and murder thousands of your people? You need to shut up. All mosques need to be burnt to the ground. There are way too many of them all over the USA. They are nothing more than fronts for meeting places to plan more terrorist attacks. Burn them all!

      August 6, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • k.madhukar

      The acts of Muslim Jihadists, fundamental Islamists all over the globe can also be attributed to lack of education and ignorance. Don't you think so?

      August 6, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • sherri990

      to sh04....Canadians like you make me sick. With your nose up in the air like you are better than everyone else. How about if your perfect country of tolerance accept all the muslims and their mosques and the bagage that goes with them. Then let's see how high that nose is. Fool....

      August 6, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • zeke

      @sherri990 you really are the TOOL of the DAY!!! They were Muslim extremists, Extremists!!! Please look up the word.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • zeke

      @sherri990 you really are the TOOL of the DAY!!! They were Muslim extremists, Extremists!!! It's in the dictionary.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • sh04

      To sherri990, the only fool between the two of us is you which illustrates my point. Please go read a book and take a much needed history lesson. Muslims have been needlessly murdered each and every day for many many years all over the world by your country, before 9/11. However due to the fact that your only source of knowledge is what you hear in the mainstream media, you probably didn't know that.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • zeke

      @ sherri990, You must be a Romneyite!!! It's the only explanation.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • sh04

      to sherri990 I also like how you state the word "tolerance" as if it is such a horrible thing for people to have..your stupidity has made my day

      August 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • sharkfisher

      sh04 is without a doubt an educated canuck. Which means he was potty trained at 40 years old.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  18. Voice of Reason

    I bet a million to one that a christian did it.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Edwin

      I'll take that bet, for $1. After they find the person, Christians everywhere will point out that although he calls himself a christian and attends a church regularly, he is somehow not really a christian after all, because he did something bad (and got caught).

      In today's world, when someone disagrees with your truth, it isn't true anymore. So... I'll win the bet, because Christians will disagree with you regardless of what the facts say.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  19. Tiffany

    This is so sad! I wish there was some way that I could offer my support to the members of the mosque so they knew that all Americans aren't as narrow minded or bigoted as the arsonist(s).

    August 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm |


    August 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Arpaio

      Take your turbin off, where did you get these stats from??

      August 6, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Truth

      American's don't like bottom lines. They think bottom lines are gay. America is still in the closet and doesn't want to come out to the fact that we're more of the problem than the brown people are.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Repent and believe in Jeebus and you will be put in a 401k, (saved)

      87-88 % of the humans on earth who are armed with guns are Americans. Wow. That's just great. Thank you Jeebus.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Yeah, but those stats are changing daily... as we all know those muslims breed like rats. God Bless.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • sharkfisher

      Bottom Line: If you believe anything the C.I.A. puts out I have some ocean front property in Nebraska I'll sell you real cheap.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:08 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.