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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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

"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. Chris

    This is sad. Insurance fraud eventually costs everyone. I would hate to pay a higher premium as a result of this insurance fraud which was committed just to seek sympathy and attention.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Dave

      Muzzies want to play victim and I get to pay for the drama. Disgusting.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • Who invited me?

      Any evidence to this allegation, or are you just ignorant?

      August 7, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • tallulah13

      Let's see your proof, Chris. Unless you have proof of your accusations, you are simply a liar.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • Shakira

      So man up and show us proof or are you just a moron?

      August 7, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • Bill_1984

      @Chris. No, the Sunday school class in explosives went a little awry in that mosque.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • Jack Be Humble

      Wow, a double-win for haters. You get to accuse people of arson, and you get to laugh at their suffering. This is a brilliant and epic troll, guaranteed to inflame people.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:01 am |
  2. Your Panties in Texas

    I would suggest that those Arabs leave Joplin and go back to their Arab Land.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Who invited me?

      You are an idiot

      August 7, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • DeAnne

      Arabs? You mean Americans, and they are home.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • mk1

      Let's see, Kimberly Kester, now there is an Arab name if I ever heard one. I would also bet that the American Indian wished many times that Christians had never come to this land. Texas, what an ignorant moron you are.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • tallulah13

      Unless you are a Native American, you probably should leave, too.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  3. Reality

    READ AND LEARN:---–>

    AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

    Jesus and his family had/has warmongering Michael, gay Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family) (As did the probable red-neck "Christian" arsonist)

    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

    "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • cliff

      Reply, put the pipe down, stop drinking your Obama kool-aid and come back to reality. Talk about a far out wacko!

      August 7, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Reality

      Starting this morning with a prayer:

      The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years) (prayer = a reiterated peti-tion such as the Our Father)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request)

      August 7, 2012 at 7:03 am |
  4. Loyal Nothern Democrat

    Our President is determined to get them thrown out of our country and placed in Kenya.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      And I hope you have docu*mentation to back-up that claim?

      August 7, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Who invited me?

      brony/trolldoll
      no one taking the bait?
      try one of your other masks

      August 7, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  5. Steve

    These people are not wanted in this country.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Steve, I don't want you in this country.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Thomas

      Yeah! Get rid of all those cowardly arsonist Christians! Who needs 'em?

      August 7, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • mk1

      Totally agree with Voice of Reason, Steve, you are your racism and bigotry are not wanted in this country.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  6. Rob

    Oh how terrible..............

    August 7, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  7. Paul

    What's astonishing is that the very same people who figure "they" had it coming after a mosque burns down, or Sikhs gets slaughtered for their race will turn around and call "THEM" the extremists. Blows your mind.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Paul, it's beyond mind blowing. It's so far wrong it shouldn't exist.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  8. Keith

    In muslim countries, the occupants of the churches are shot and then the church is burned.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      All in the name of a god. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Paul

      So this one is ok, then? If white people don't kill anyone, burning a church is alright?

      August 7, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Thomas

      Isn't America supposed to be BETTER than that? That was my impression. Thanks for dispelling that foolish notion of mine.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • tallulah13

      In the United States, freedom of religion (or from religion) is one of our basic tenets. If you have a problem with that, Keith, it's best that you move to one of those more violent nations you seem to admire.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  9. Larry L

    Religion = Hate

    August 6, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  10. Mel Segundo

    Substandard wiring installed by a union contractor is my guess.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Yep, the guy with the ignited object was a ruse.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Your name should be on a sign in Vegas at the latino cantina, appearing tonight for your dancing and listening pleasure, ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for Mel Segundo!

      August 6, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  11. brothersulayman

    This is after American Muslim Charities ICNA and Islamic Relief spent countless hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars in the tornado relief efforts in Joplin? Someone burns down a mosque the day after a guy who hated Muslims shoots a Sikh temple? Wow. Sad world indeed.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      It's not the world there brother, it's the people that believe in stupid, ridiculous unreasonable things that fu*ck this wonderful planet up.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Shara

      It's not reflective of the entire community..I can assure you of that. It is reflective of at least 1 racist bigot. What will be reflective of the community is how they step up to the plate to help the mosques congregation in the aftermath. We shall see...

      August 6, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      All it takes is one very screwed up mind to do something like this. Sometimes the good is not seen and others suffer for the bad unnecessarily.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  12. bspurloc

    christian taaliban doin waht they do best

    August 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • rstln

      What makes you think this was a Christian? Seems to me like there's a lot of fear and hate of Muslims to go around. Could be a Christian, certainly...even more sad to me if so...but you're jumping to that conclusion clearly shows you've got some issues to work through.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Thomas

      @rstln....Clearly this was the work of Buddhists. No Christian would ever attack a place of worship....unless you count the hundreds of times they've done it in the past few decades.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @rstln

      No, actually, the christians have a lot of issues to work through, like, GET REAL

      August 7, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      rstln: Most times when you see this kind of crap through history it is one religious extremist group taking things to the extreme.....you don't want your faith labeled for being bad, don't label anothers.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:32 am |
  13. 4U2C

    Too bad the arsonist picked a wrong time to torch the place. Friday afternoons will be a better time to do that. Less terrorists is always a good thing

    August 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You should kill yourself so.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Look how dumb I am, I didn't know that Friday afternoon had a significance to it. Guess what? You are one twisted mother fu*cker!

      August 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Hmm. Is "4U2C" a troll or just a racist idiot? I can't decide.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Andrea L

      If you wish for the deaths of innocent individuals, you are no better than a terrorist. There billions of Muslims worldwide, most are trying to live there lives peacefully. They should not be collectively held responsible for the acts of a few radicals. This type of hate is fundamentally against the principles of this great country.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • RobinMO

      Then the arsonist could go eat a chicken sandwich at Chick fil A.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      And Atheists get called the bad ones! Never would I wish death upon another person.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • JayW

      I think we need to track down your IP address 4U2C. You may be the second arsonist that FBI is looking for that may be involved. Be careful before making idiotic comments.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  14. WilmaWonka

    When will extremists understand that extreme measures strengthen the very thing they find offensive?

    August 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  15. Jeff in Oregon

    More southern (kind of southern) intolerance. You all must be so proud of your communities.

    August 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Don't be bashing the south there jeffy, I bet you Oregon has a dose of nuts too!

      August 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • no nothing

      Well New York welcomed a mosque near grown zero

      August 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Like those guys looking for Bigfoot.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @no nothing

      And?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      And credit to New York for it.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Oh, hell yeah, Oregon has it's share of nuts. I was born and raised in southern Oregon and got out of there as soon as I could. However, we also have our share of decent human beings.

      At least we are one of the least religious states. We have that going for us.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Isn't Oregon one of the states that allows dignity to die? I applaud them!

      August 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Right to die should be an enshrined civil right.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Shara

      I grew up in Joplin, and am waiting on the good people of the city to rally around and support the members this mosque like they did the tornado victims.
      *cricket cricket.
      Lol... JK still to early to assume that. I really hope that Christians use this as an opportunity to show the love of Christ and support their fellow citizens.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • cliff

      Yeah, many of the California "fruit cakes" moved to Oregon. Portland is a "small hollyweird!"

      August 7, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • tallulah13

      Yep. We were the pioneers of American "death with dignity." Oregon is generally a pretty cool place to live. Even our rednecks can be surprisingly independent cusses.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • LinCA

      Oregon rocks!

      August 7, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  16. MrObvious

    The burning of this mosque was the act of a terrorist, and those who support the actions of the people who burned the mosque support terrorism.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Your moniker rings true.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Thor

      Israelis most likely........

      August 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      As horrible as Mossad are, I doubt they're involved.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Shara

      ^like

      August 6, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  17. Shara

    This is a travesty... I hope that those in the area churches show the members as much love and help as they showed the citizens of Joplin after the tornado.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Why do you think it should be people from area churches, why not a thousand atheists?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Shara

      Matthew 5:16
      Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Shara

      Please don't start that crap. You started off just fine with your own voice then you went into some trance and starting speaking in some tongue, the kind that I wouldn't want in my mouth.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Shara

      I assumed you were a Christian by your hate... Unfortunately, too many Christians (especially in that area) hate rather than try to emulate Christ. I, as a Christian, am personally sick of it. I want my life to be a light to the world.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Jonboy

      Voice, have you ever been to Joplin? There are no atheists there. Besides, atheists aren't offended enough by anyone's religion to attack their church. This has whacko fundamentalist, redneck Christian evangelical written al over it. That only narrows down the suspects in the state of Missouri to 98 percent of the population, however.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Sharahttp://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/06/missouri-mosque-destroyed-in-second-fire-in-a-month/comment-page-6/?replytocom=1597776#respond

      I grew up in that area. I was so impressed with how the area churches jumped at the chance to help those affected in their time of need. I know too many that are probably silently rejoicing at the fact that this mosque was burned down though. It's sad...

      August 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Shara
      "I assumed you were a Christian by your hate... Unfortunately, too many Christians (especially in that area) hate rather than try to emulate Christ. I, as a Christian"

      Read that back real slow there shara hara

      August 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Jonboy

      I don't disagree with you one bit.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Sharahttp://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/06/missouri-mosque-destroyed-in-second-fire-in-a-month/comment-page-6/?replytocom=1597776#respond

      I grew up there. Even if I lived there now, I would believe the same way as I do today. I think that TOO MANY Christians have beliefs that are out of context of Jesus' example.
      It's easy.. What would Jesus do. Jesus was never violent... The only time that he was was when he saw a temple being taken over my moneychangers and thieves and preachers of false doctrine. Come to think of it, I think he would be appalled at the state of modern Christianity today...

      August 6, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Sharahttp://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/06/missouri-mosque-destroyed-in-second-fire-in-a-month/comment-page-6/?replytocom=1597776#respond

      Seriously Truth... Saying that all Christians are the same is just as offensive and intolerant as saying all black people like fried chicken and all Asians are bad drivers... It's nonsense. You can't just group people like that. We are all individuals.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • kosh

      Jonboy, this has copycat crime written all over it. Hate crime yes, but copycat crime aswell.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Shara

      To me, all christians are the same, they are in the same boat as every other religion and supernatural belief. To me it makes no sense whatsoever. Why you are a christian is beyond me as is a moslem a jew a catholic a morman a witch a whatever make believe sh*it you want to believe to be true, personally I just don't get it. I'm human just like you but you make the distinction of being a christian, what the f*uck?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Shara

      Honestly Truth, I'm probably more of a Panentheist. Although I grew up Penticostal Holiness , I believe that I can worship God anywhere, because God is all that exists. I feel the most comfortable worshiping in a church of my origin, and I believe in the teachings of Christ. although I accept others regardless of their beliefs. I just don't like narrow minded bigots, whether they are religious, atheist, etc...

      August 6, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Shara

      *reason 😉 Scuze me

      August 6, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Shara

      Look at you, you're making me melt calling me truth and then you realized I was reason, oh silly you. Pantheism, do you know what that is? Just curious. You don't have to call it god you know.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Shara

      @ Reason.... I know... I know... It's just easier to worship where you feel comfortable.. and where your family won't disown you for attending 😉 I need to find a good Universalist church though... Seriously.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Shara

      Why do you think you have this passion to "worship"? Just curious.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Shara

      @Reason, I think it's innate in some people. Our brains simply react with it. (http://www.npr.org/2010/12/15/132078267/neurotheology-where-religion-and-science-collide)

      I think that prayer in groups inspires a type of cohesiveness and closeness to the unknown/divine that is unknown in any other form... Growing up Penticostal, I have seen that first hand. You can look at African religions too. There is a divine presence of humanity and something beyond that.. Even greater, call it God if you wish. Worshiping is simply a way to connect with that. You can believe what you want... But you are missing out 😉

      August 7, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Shara

      I once believed in the supernatural and I can honestly tell you once I let the supernatural go I became alive for the very first time. No one can touch me, no one can tell me what is right and what is wrong, no one has the authority to take away my freedom, no one has the right to tell people how to live. The world you tell me that I'm missing out on is a world I don't want to go back to. You should think hard, read, listen to your rational thinking, jump out of that box that your parents and peers put you in, you deserve better.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  18. Truth

    When the muslims stop killing Americans in their countries, we start caring about whether people here burn mosques.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Jonboy

      Aren't we supposed to be better than terrorists in other countries? Or are you aiming for being only slightly better? I will never understand the argument "Well, they do it too!" Sisn't your mom ever ask you if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?

      August 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • brothersulayman

      Dude, I'm an American Muslim. I am horrified by violence overseas, but I don't take it out on people who are unrelated. I think Israel's bombing of innocent people in Palestine is terrible, but you don't see me take it out on my Jewish neighbors here. Clearly your thinking is what leads to atrocities like this arson attack and the Sikh temple shooting.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Hm. It appears that "Truth" is too cowardly to put his/her money where his/her mouth is. If you are so upset about the actions taken by people in other country, you should go there and confront them, not murder innocent Americans.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Shara

      Truth, I care.What was done to these people was wrong in all senses of the word... You are just a bigot.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Truth

      " When the muslims stop killing Americans in their countries, we start caring about whether people here burn mosques. " 😯

      Really ? So... we shouldn't care about idiots committing the same kind of tragic lunacy as some do in other countries ?

      Wow !!!

      Peace...

      August 7, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • fandancy

      Why attack innocent people who have nothing to do with the terrorists? There is too much hate being spewed in our own country.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @fandancy

      You are correct, there is too much hate and it's brought-on by religion.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  19. cliff

    While I don't condone the fire I still think a lot of this is a carry over from 911. Some people haven't forgotten and likely will not.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Probably. But freedom of religion (or from religion) remains one of the primary tenets of the United States. If this was indeed hate-based arson, then the arsonist is simply acting out against his own country.

      August 6, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  20. truth

    It seems to me that those in control have all of us fighting each other so we won't turn and fight them. The real culprits are those that fear monger and miseducate which lead deranged people to do this, Aurora, Sikh Temple etc.

    August 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Hey truth!

      Do you think civil unrest is at hand?

      August 6, 2012 at 10:59 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.