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. Jowl

    Anyone who attends that Murfreesboro mosque is a fool - yes you don't want to let the bad guys win, but on the other hand, it's a target. Something's gonna go down at that place on day & I know I wouldn't let my family anywhere near that place.

    August 7, 2012 at 2:57 am |
    • So the terrorists win


      August 7, 2012 at 3:09 am |
    • Jowl

      Yes, they win.

      I'd rather have my family than to sacrifice them.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:10 am |
    • So the terrorists win

      Maybe we should vacate NYC, too, since there's bound to be something bad that will happen there as well. After all, only structures were destroyed in MO – people actually died in NYC.

      Yay fear!

      August 7, 2012 at 3:14 am |
  2. jk

    why is this not breaking news? I bet it would be if it were a synagogue!

    August 7, 2012 at 2:45 am |
  3. brad


    August 7, 2012 at 2:37 am |
  4. Frank

    This is appalling. Is this what political extremists (read: extreme GOP'ers) resort to now, in the US of all places?

    Sad. Stop the hate.

    August 7, 2012 at 2:28 am |
  5. Al-Amin

    Are these arsonist any better than Al-Queada? I don't even think Al-Queda would set someone worship place on fire. There could have been people inside, as Muslims pray five times a day. The most shocking thing is that here most of the CNN readers think that it's funny. What happened to FBI? They couldn't even figure out who tried to arson the same place month before. Or they don't care.

    August 7, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • Jowl

      They blew up the twin towers with thousands of people inside it & you don't think they would burn down a house of worship? Hahaha.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • Jowl

      Btw, typical Muslim to forget about 9/11.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:05 am |
    • Not a muslim

      Typical ignorant american to group all muslims in with the extremists. That's like saying all white people like to shoot Sikhs. Your parents don't let you out of the basement often, do they?

      August 7, 2012 at 3:09 am |
    • Jowl

      Huh? This Muslim clearly forgot about 9/11. And it's a growing trend that needs to be addressed in the mosques,

      August 7, 2012 at 3:13 am |
    • Not a muslim

      So do you think that churches should continuously acknowledge the killings in Milwaukee for the next decade or so?

      And how dense can you possibly be to think that muslims have forgotten about 9/11. What, exactly, do you expect the US muslim population – US citizens, many of whom are currently fighting for your freedom to come into internet blogs and spout your ignorance – to do when 'remembering' 9/11

      Stupid people suck.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:17 am |
    • Al-Amin

      Did you forget USA invasion of Iraq which killed millions?

      August 7, 2012 at 3:46 am |
    • Al-Amin

      Al-Queada is a extrimist group and muslim don't support them. But look at you! you elected Bush for the second time after he invaded Iraq and killing hundreds of thousands innocent people.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:49 am |
  6. Jake

    Why is CNN so covert about its article? Seriously, half of the readers do not even know what arsonist means, I'm assuming. Just make it simple without getting political... "Mosque suspected to be burnt down by someone in a hate crime" – how is that? Not "Though investigators haven't determined the cause, Kester suspects it to be another incident of arson."

    August 7, 2012 at 2:04 am |
    • Thorax Malone

      "Arson" is a commonly used word in American English. Lowering the level of discourse to the lowest common denominator is probably not appropriate in this case.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:10 am |
  7. Al-Amin

    Is america becoming Naazi state?

    August 7, 2012 at 1:56 am |
  8. Al-Amin

    This is disgusting!!!
    This is the country you are proud of??? Attacking innocent people for their religious belief?

    August 7, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  9. Jesus was a hunchback

    Another example of Christian terrorism.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • Al-Amin

      No they are some random guy. Struggling with personal life. How can he be a terrorist? He's christian and have light skin color.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Caleb

      I have to agree. "Christian extremist" should be used more frequently.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • Gerald

      Here's the atheists go again, flaming the fire of hatred. Look in your own hearts, those of you that claim you"re so innocent.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  10. Al-Amin

    The alarming thing is that most of the people seems like appreciating these kind of activity and they are blaming muslims for terrorist activity. Dude even back in my country nobody put a church on fire.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:50 am |
  11. ug

    Get the point that they are welcomed in the town...

    August 7, 2012 at 1:43 am |
  12. Cody

    I am surprised that there is a mosque in Joplin. I thought this was a more rural area.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • Pagan72

      Apparently it IS a rural area and they don't like mosques. Especially after The Lord came through and destroyed their town. Wonder what they like now?

      August 7, 2012 at 1:41 am |
  13. Mark

    Some people get it and others seem to unite with firebombing. Remember, you are not invincible and what you do to others, others can do to you. If you want to live through violence it might come true, but maybe not how you thought it was going to be. You, like those you hate, might lose what you most treasure. The Mars landing is progress? For who?

    August 7, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Pagan72

      The Mars landing belongs to the whole race of "humanity". The whole problem with Joplin is that it is an American Situation and is very ongoing. Regardless of what others in other countries believe? It is an American Situation. It should only be dealt with by Americans "in the end".

      August 7, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  14. Kenny973

    Somebody probably just thought they were Sikhs.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • Pagan72

      ..They're TALIBAN. They're ALL Taliban.
      Besides God and Jesus Christ hating them (as undoubtedly they would believe at this point)–the Muslims (Taliban) are coming to kill them "if they're not killed first". It's paranoia. Then again, who's to blame them when the whole situation is looked upon?

      August 7, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  15. Dave

    These people have always enjoyed playing with fire. Now, they seek sympathy for their singed eyebrows.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • Who invited me?

      ignorance is my friend...right Dave?

      August 7, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • tallulah13

      What people, Dave? Americans exercising their Const.itutional right to worship as they chose?

      August 7, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • Muhammad

      And these people wonder why every year Allah sends tornados to destroy them.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:09 am |
  16. Samina

    Cnn...why is this not 'breaking news' or 'just in' ..u know..stuff that grabs people's attention..and we would like comments from Islamic scholars in US being posted in such articles( main stream scholars like Hamza Yusuf, Yasir Qadhi etc.).trying to educate a bit more about muslims as you are doing for the Sikhs.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • James

      They are educating about sikhs to differentiate them from muslims. Killing muslims in america is implicitly acceptable! Its another way of saying go ahead and kill muslims but make sure the sikhs should be left alone

      August 7, 2012 at 1:49 am |
  17. Pagan72

    The obvious reason that the town was demolished by tornadoes is because it is so filled with intolerance for anyone that doesn't think as the majority of the town. Sounds psychotic and weird? Really? I think it sounds "just right", as unreal as it sounds.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • Pagan72

      Anyone can see what has happened–the people of Joplin were thrust into the national spotlight, were not made to BE in the national spotlight, and are retaliating "in their own little way". I hope that they learn how to be in that so-called "spotlight"–hating persons isn't the way to rebuild your home/hometown.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:19 am |
  18. OJ

    – Killing kids at movie theater
    – killing people with darker skin and worship different God
    – Burning house of worship of other religions.
    – Invade other people countries and kill them
    – Bomb other countries with weapons of mass destruction

    I guess the only progress is driving cars instead of riding horses.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • LinCA

      Don't forget that through science and technology we landed a rover on Mars. Progress is possible.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • brian

      But if the religious fundamentalists have their way, such accomplishments as the rover will be consigned to the dustbin of history and scientists will once again be persecuted for blasphemy

      August 7, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • James

      we invent first and foremost to dominate and control through death and destruction.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • JO

      OJ, you left out 3,000 babies aborted every day.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:24 am |
  19. sara

    "Joplin mosque destroyed in blaze" more like "arsonist burns mosque to the ground"

    August 7, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  20. Robert Emmett Zimmer

    Let us kill the hate! Embrace and love one another including those that may be different from us and get rid of the notion of collective guilt, like all Muslims were responsible for 9/11, it is tiresome and idiotic.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:47 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.