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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. RS

    I think it's safe to say most commentators here, like myself, aren't going to post anything intelligent. Look at these worthless comments, laughable! Let's all stop wasting precious bandwidth, there are people in third world countries dying to use the internet for useful purposes, believe it or not.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Oh no, don't do that to yourself RS. You're becoming self-righteous even after declaring yourself useless. Man, you have some serious problems there boy!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Former Marine

      That's a good, valid argument. Well, it would be if...

      Nevermind, it's a dumb argument. People posting things on the internet from first world countries is not what's preventing people in the third world from obtaining internet service. It's not like there's a limited amount of internet, and the first world is hoarding it all so they can post silly comments online.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      What use do the third world have for the internet? They'd be better off trying to sort out food and poverty issues.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  2. paperjihad

    Reblogged this on Paper Jihad.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  3. Loyal Nothern Democrat

    Did any suicide vests blow up during the fire?

    August 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  4. chieftrainer

    Several people have blamed Christians for this arson. None of you know who the arsonist is, so your conclusion is meaningless only meant to incite hate against Christianity. That's not very tolerant of you. A true Christian would never do such a cowardly act. Speculation put forth as fact only indicates no basis for your argument.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      No true Scotsman.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  5. Bob

    Let's not mistake this for a hate crime. It's a prudent pre-emptive action. A fairly small one on the road to pushing Moslems back to where they belong. They are not and cannot be loyal Americans.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • texcal68

      Have you always been a hatemonger?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I hate you and your ilk Bob. Anybody who doesn't support the First Amendment can not be a loyal American.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • rafael

      Christian, no?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Bob, you are not worthy of America.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • RS

      MURRICA!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • RS

      Be sure to read Bob's comment in an heavily southern accent. Enjoy the laugh.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • oralisM

      Wow Bob. You're a man of action. Do you have friends who call themselves Stormfront or wear Gott mit uns tattoos?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Ramadan

      The indivdual(s) whom did this are ignorant. Their hearts are filled more with ignorance than hate. Nobody deserves the tornados and nobody deserves to have their place of worship burned down. This was the act of a coward. May Allah forgive the coward and may Allah grant a bigger and better mosque. The Muslim community is spreading faster than ever and it CANNOT be stopped. The next Mosque will be bigger. There are plans to build an additional 7 Mosques in Missouri by the fall of 2014. TAKBEER

      August 6, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Islam WILL be stopped through science and rationalism.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Ramadan

      Listen, I'm on the side of freedom and I'm disgusted over this incident BUT don't start rambling-on about how you're going to build your religious nonsense even more because that's when I stop supporting your freedom.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Bob

      I'm glad you agree "Libertarian".

      August 6, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Burning down buildings isn't rational or scientific (well, unless you're a pyrotechnician) Bob. You are a bigot. Science and rationalism will also prevail over all religions, including Christianity (apologies if you're not a Christian, but I expect you are).

      August 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Bob

      I can't say I respect your position "Voice of Reason" but it's a useful one.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Bob

      What is it that you don't respect there bobby?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  6. Bayousara

    I am ashamed to say I donated money to help the people of Joplin after the tornado. I would rather have given it to some other more deserving cause. People of Joplin, you MUSt step forward and condemn the destruction of this mosque. This is YOUR responsibility! You can't expect someone else to do it! So start talking to neighbors, family, friends, get going with a dialogue to stop this kind of hatred.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I'm with you there BAY!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • dave

      nice of you to condemn a whole town for the actions of a few

      August 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @dave

      Dave, I don't think Bay is condemning the whole city, I think he/she believes the city of Joplin should take a stance against hatred and intolerance and I agree.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  7. RS

    This city deserved those tornadoes. Hopefully another natural disaster hits this area soon. Fingers crossed!

    August 6, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Seriously, what the fu*ck is wrong with you?

      August 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • RS

      II could ask the same thing to these mongrels. They must be very proud of themselves, after their first failed attempt. 2 times the charm!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      RS
      by your reasoning you just said " oh mighty smiter, smite me with your smitiest smite"

      August 6, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • chieftrainer

      Are you one of those tolerant liberals who wish death and destruction on innocent people?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • RS

      There was nothing logical about that conclusion you came to. Mindboggling.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @RS
      "There was nothing logical about that conclusion you came to. Mindboggling."

      I must have my dumb hat on tonight because I'm not getting it from you. Just say what you want for crying out loud!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • RS

      I would never want the deaths of anyone. Good or bad. You have to wonder though, why would someone destroy a building in Joplin when it was a little more than a year ago that they had the destruction of their own city's buildings. You're supposed to be rebuilding, not just ruining your garbage dump of a city even further.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @RS

      Ah, I get it. I can see where you're coming from, thanks for making it clearer!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Am I a bad person because I laughed out loud at the phrase "smitiest smite"?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      tallulah
      No ...you are probably a bad person for many things that we don't even know about, at least according to the big book of smite.Your laughing out loud only shows you have a sense of humor, and will be punished by the mighty smiter himself in the afterlife.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Oh good. I've already figured that if the christian god is real I'll be going to hell. But with all the gays going to hell too, we know that hell is going to be fabulous!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @tallulah13

      hell is filled with disco balls!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Wheeee!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  8. Golden Rule

    I live just outside Kansas City. I can tell you first hand this state is crawling with low IQ redneck religious nutbags.

    I have talked to many many people out of curiosity about religion. The vass majority hold ill feelings about all other religions but their own. Most of these people were baby boomers and older. 98% of them christian.

    It will take these old generations to die off FOR REAL CHANGE.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I thought that about pot when I was growing-up as teenager and that was back in the early 50's. Nothing has changed, same bunch of old bas*tards that want control.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  9. Benny Hill

    We all knew it didnt we? Yep, a T bagger.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Has that been proven?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  10. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Carl Junction Fire Chief Bill Dunn called it a "complete loss."

    Now that there's a picture to go with this story: Duh!

    Sad for the community that built this. Assuming this is arson, I hope the investigation goes well and those responsible for it will be brought to trial.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  11. conoclast

    Joplin built back up from the tornado - only to descend back into the muck of religious hatred. I guess you know best where you belong, huh rednecks?

    August 6, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • chieftrainer

      Excuse me, but Joplin didn't burn the mosque down. Some loony arsonist did. It's easy to turn the dialog the way you want it to go rather than following the facts.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @chieftrainer

      I'm reading conoclast differently. I may be wrong but what I gather he/she is saying Joplin had an opportunity after being destroyed by a tornado to move forward but apparently the trash stayed-on.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • chieftrainer

      @Voice
      My issue is that people condemn an entire city for the acts one one or two people. If that is the case, then all cities in all countries should be condemned because there is always someone who will kill or destroy something that others hold dear.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @chieftrainer

      I get where you are landing on that. Unfortunately the bad seeds create an image that taints an association, that guilt by association thing. I'm sure there are wonderful folks in Joplin just like any other place. It's this religious thingy that drives normal people to be stupid idiots that believer what they are doing is their god's wishes.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • chieftrainer

      @Voice
      The problem is that Christianity is blamed when we don't even know who the arsonist is. Just because it was a religious site doesn't mean another religious person burned it down. How many people thinking about 9/11 who are not religious might have done that? I would venture to say quite a few.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @chieftrainer

      Something tells me that only a crazy zealot, be it christian or whatever, most likely low IQ and enjoying every moment right now is the culprit(s)

      August 6, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  12. Dennis

    and xtians call themselves a religion of love.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • chieftrainer

      So, you must know who the arsonist is?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Mark9988

      Where did it say the arsonist was a Christian, given they don't who it is? And there are a lot of self-described Christians (example KKK) that are not Christians at all (they don't follow Christ or His teachings).

      August 6, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  13. JackinDayton

    Good news to start off the week.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Dumb A s s

      August 6, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Hey Jack: Next time a church is burned in an act of hate, you don't get to whine about it.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • bill

      religious tolerance was the founding principle of this country, if you dont have that you have nothing.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @bill

      Well bill, welcome to the USA and the christian intolerance.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • frootyme

      Hey Jack – If this is what your parents have taught you, I spit on them. People like you are disgraceful to the civilized society.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Imastarchick

      But Bill if we dont have our religious tolerance, at least we have our second ammendment! Religious freedom was not included in the bill of rights, so its a rather tricky for the uneducated to figure out the 9th ammendment.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Imastarchick

      Isn't the 9th amendment a fuzzy place?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  14. Donald

    In the United States those who burn are considered radicals; those who worship are not.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • MC Escher

      I dunno, Catholic Pedophile Priests are pretty radical.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  15. Mateen

    I love it how Obama is called a muslim, and with the same breath we fault him for having close contacts with "his" pastor.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I know, right? How freakin' laughable!

      August 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  16. jim atmad

    I would assume the cops have checked Michele Bachmann's hands for traces of accelerants.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  17. RoadRunner, Albuquerque, NM

    Acts of domestic terrorism don't go away when you ignore them; they get worse, and they are not only hate crimes, but they threaten to drag the whole country into the black hole Anarchy and Fascism. I think there are enough dots to connect for the Justice Department to get on the Stick, and start surveilling, and hauling these right-wing teabaggers into the Halls of Justice, and from their to the pits of the Prison System. Not where's Waldo, but where's Atty. Gen. Holder? You can't placate hate groups, and the country is teaming with them. If you can't seem to "find" them, ask the SPLC. They have a good bead on these Fascists and Anarchists hiding in what once was the Republican Party.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You can't have anarchy and fascism. They're two incompatible ideologies.

      August 6, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  18. Robert

    well imagine that. the tide has turned. it's usaly muslims burning down church's and cynagaugs. all over the world. how does it feel?

    August 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • RoadRunner, Albuquerque, NM

      I guess you never heard of the "christian" Crusades," or the Inquisition, have you Robert. Read some books. Get an education, and stop drinking Jim Jones Right Wing Kool Aid.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • s kel

      hey rob the racist u smelling smoke in your home? Bigot, its satan opening the fires of hell for your hate loving,demon inspired sick mind self to jump into.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • tallulah13

      If you can't be bothered to use spell check, why should I take you seriously?

      August 6, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • conoclast

      Way to go, throwback - yours is the stupidest post on the page. Be proud, 'bagger!

      August 6, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • PATRIOT

      you war monger basrtard.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      What! Muslims burn down the fried chicken place?
      http://www.churchs.com

      And the cynagaugs!

      What's that? The cynagaugs I mean.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • bill

      robert, what tides are you talking about?? were you there in the foreign lands to see what actually happened? do you believe eye for an eye hand for a hand?? with this comment you must, making you closer to a Muslim and Islam than you realize.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • jumz

      im glad to see a lot of other people think robert is an idiot

      August 6, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  19. Edward

    Just how welcome can you feel when no one wants you?

    August 6, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  20. Edward

    One would think these radicals would recognize we are at the end of our rope.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      which ones are the radicals? the ones building or the ones doing the burning?

      August 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • RoadRunner, Albuquerque, NM

      I agree with Who invited me? I think the American people are fast coming to the end of our rope with your kind who victimize innocent people and then blame the victims. Americans are better that what your ilk gives them credit for. Quit being a bully, and become a MAN, Edward!

      August 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • horus

      Roadrunner

      Since you are so quick to educate Robert and Edward, have you read the history of destruction and persecution by muslims when islam spread into India? There is no country conquered by islam in which the native populations were not slaughtered to the point of extinction or else forced to convert or reduced to a persecuted minority. And all of these results are in accordance with the principles and commands explicitly stated in the Quran and the Hadith. But of course you've read the Quran and so you know what it says about the treatment of Christians, Jews, and all non-muslims. Or if you can't be bothered with that, try reading some of the statements coming from muslim clerics today during Ramadan about how they regard useful idiots like you and what's in store for anyone who does not submit to islam. And please note, that criticizing your naivete about who the victims are does not imply any defense of the remarks made by Robert and Edward. In your case it is simply a matter of the pot and calling the kettle.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Jasmine Lindros

      LOL at Horus' "history of destruction" crack. I'm sure the natives of South America, central America, and North America feel the same about Christianity, but you couldn't figure that out for yourself, could you? And Spain is hopelessly addicted to Christianity, in spite of being conquered by the Moors. In fact, I have read about two-thirds of the Koran, and it's not noticeably worse than the Bible – remember the thousands of sleeping children murdered in the final Plague? The Biblical butcher Samson? Islam and Christianity worship the same god, and have the same bloodthirsty tendencies.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:24 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.