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. MashaSobaka

    Yeah...when push comes to shove, Christian extremists are just as horrible as Islamic extremists. Who's shocked? I'm totally shocked.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:11 am |
  2. doughnuts

    Sounds like the mosque fire in Marietta, GA a few years ago. That one turned out to be an inside job.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:11 am |
  3. Enoch

    CNN doesn't want to report this:

    Nigeria church attack leaves at least 19 dead


    Our friends the Saudis continue hating those Christians, who gave asylum and protections to their Prophet in his days of trouble during the first years of Islam

    Riyadh deports 35 Ethiopian Christians for praying


    August 7, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • MashaSobaka

      I think CNN has made it very clear that church and state should be kept separate, actually. That's why the GOP calls CNN "liberal brainwashing media."

      August 7, 2012 at 7:12 am |
  4. Reality



    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).

    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 7:05 am |
  5. sparky

    Hey Joplin, don't be surprised if another tornado levels your town. Fvcking lowlife bigots

    August 7, 2012 at 6:58 am |
  6. roccop777

    To Rak: in my quest to better understand the system Islam I have done extensive research and gone to the source of the "real Islam" - the Qur'an, the Hadithe and Sirah writings. There the k1lling of anyone who departs from Islam (Murtadd) is clearly spelled out. In the Qur'an there is a Sure called Anfal- which means "spoils of war" with instructions on how to split up the booty after attacking and r0bbing non-Muslims. In Sure 33 (al-Ahzab) men are allowed to have s3 xual relations with their 1) wives 2) their female servants (who their hand possess) and 3) women captured in battles. Has the ISNA given out any public statements condemning or calling for the repeal of such practices? Yes in the Old Testament there were things practiced, such as stoning, and attacking idolaters - but Christians see a new basis for their faith in Christ which supercedes such practices and will vocally and energetically oppose anyone who tries to implement such practices. Christians, for instance opposed the "ethnic cleansing" done by so-called Christians in Serbia/Kosovo.
    In Saudia Arabia Christians are forbidden to meet to worship, wear or display a cross, have a Bible - and even visit certain cities and threatened with d3ath if they attempt to do so. Has the ISNA or american Muslims ever issued a public statement condemning such policy? As I wrote - the silence is deafening!

    August 7, 2012 at 6:12 am |
    • MashaSobaka

      So...Muslim extremist are "following Islam," but Christian extremists are just being bad Christians? Give me a freaking break.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:06 am |
  7. Editor

    Thanks for the article. For info on people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues, please see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization @ http://​www.Libertarian-Internation​al.org ....

    August 7, 2012 at 5:37 am |
  8. paperjihad

    People who do this kind of thing should stop to consider if they want their hateful actions to be an organizing principle of this society. That is, do they really want to live in a place that does not respect freedom of religion?

    August 7, 2012 at 5:33 am |
  9. Roger smith

    big deal it was a place to worship a faairy tale super being. that does not even exist.

    if allah really existed why did he not put the flames out?

    as a liberal im happy a nood nick place of stuupidity got wiped out. religion cauese more evil and despair then all the plagues in history

    August 7, 2012 at 4:21 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      First Amendment, d.ouchebag.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • Rak

      You are clueless, do you know Mao and Stalin?? They are godless and killed millions of people. You are heartless and ignorant.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • Mirosal

      Rak, take a political science class or two. Like most people, you think Mao and Stalin did what they did in the name of Atheism. You couldn't be further from the truth. It was political paranoia and the drive to remain in power by any and all means necessary to do so. Religion played no part in their atrocities. It was pure poltics and paranoia, reacting to every perceived threat to their power, real or imagined.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:27 am |
    • Rak

      Mirosal, learn to comprehend a sentence. My point was religion is NOT the cause for all the disgusting things human history has produced. It's human nature that causes evil in this world not religion!!!!

      August 7, 2012 at 5:33 am |
    • Mirosal

      Fine, I will readily agree that human nature plays the biggest part of all in the commissioning of such behavior. But, hared for others is not born, it's taught. And who are the teachers? Most likely it's their parents and churches. And the child's parents got THEIR ideals from their parents and/or church.. an eternal loop.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:38 am |
    • sparky

      Lowlife insects like your stupid fvcking @$$ are why the whole world hates our guts

      August 7, 2012 at 6:59 am |
    • Mao targeted buddgists

      Mao killed Tibetans just because he thought religion is bad and must be wiped out. Communists have a special hatred to religion.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Communism, totalitarianism or fascism are ideologies that are distinct from atheism. Atheism is simply the suspension of belief in god claims. Atheists in the US, Canada or Europe are not Fascists or Communists. They are almost entirely made up of Secular Humanists. With a Secular Humanist worldview there is very little difference between that and the majority of the teachings of Jesus. Just take out the miracles, the prayer, the supernatural and the god belief. So any time you pull out Stalin, Hitler, Mao or Pol Pot you're comparing apples to oranges. Please point to one(1) secular humanist mass murderer, serial killer or perpetrator of genocide.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:08 am |


    August 7, 2012 at 4:18 am |
    • doughnuts

      Yeah, if they have another one of these attacks every year, it will only take another 400 years to catch up to what was done by Muslim terrorists on 9/11.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:16 am |
    • What sikhs have done to 9/11

      Any idea what is the sikhs role in 9/11?

      August 7, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Sikhs had nothing whatsoever to do with the attacks of 9/11. They have simply been the unfortunate victims of idiots who can't see past the turbans.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  11. J. Mattson

    Most comments are vitriolic in nature. Let's paint a possible picture of the future, especially for those issuing a fatwah of death to anyone drawing a cartoon of Mohammed or anyone supporting them. The non- Muslim communities of Europe and America have taken notice. You do great harm to your community in continuing such behavior. If you continue, and the world's economies continue to struggle and suffer, I would suggest you be afraid, very, very afraid of awakening the giant that is predominantly Christian & militarily powerful. Extremism begets extremism.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:05 am |
  12. Ron

    Im not saying attacking muslims is right. Im just saying I think if we were to have alot of muslim attacks, im afraid there would be some serious attacks against muslims.

    August 7, 2012 at 3:59 am |
  13. Ron

    If we were to have another attack like another 9/11 (God forbid) I really dont think people are going to turn the other cheek this time. I really think you would see serious backlash all over the country.

    August 7, 2012 at 3:53 am |
    • Muhammad

      I think that should another mass tonado hits Joplin then you may not have a cheek to turn.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:55 am |
    • Rak

      So do you think it's alright to have a backlash against innocent people, most who are as disgusted with extremist thugs as much as you are. Wakeup, you want this country to operate like some of the people you love to hate?

      August 7, 2012 at 5:21 am |
  14. Ron

    Muslims in this country better hope a bunch of Muslim attacks dont start happening here in the U.S. Im sure that if they do there will be some serious backlash.

    August 7, 2012 at 3:47 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Muslims shouldn't have to be afraid because of the actions of others. If extremists attack America, then it's the extremists that should be worried, not ordinary Muslims.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:50 am |
    • Muhammad

      Christians in this country better hope that Allah does not send a tornado their way like the one that hit Joplin.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:52 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Allah, isn't he the guy who sent a pederast to earth to massacre half of the Middle East and North Africa?

      August 7, 2012 at 3:55 am |
  15. 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 (Anti-Christ)

    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 3:45 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I seek refuge in w.hores and xbox. Same thing more or less, except w.hores and xbox exist.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:47 am |
    • Muhammad

      One day you will see that Allah does exist, hope you repent and not be cast into the fire of hell forever.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:54 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Isn't hell the place with the stale beer and std riddled w.hores? I can live with that.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:56 am |
    • Mirosal

      Sure, just like any other "holy" person, you pray to your god for the ruination of others, How typical. So much for a loving "god", right? Oh, and one more thing. Your beloved prophet Mohammed, was a ped-o-phi-le. That's right, I said it. No sane reasonable person would ever THINK of marrying a NINE year old girl. So you follow the words of a ped-o-ph-ile. Doesn't say much for YOUR state of mind now does it?

      August 7, 2012 at 4:01 am |
    • Rak

      Muhammad, you should know better than to paint a broad picture on all people, that's what these people are doing to Muslims. It is a certain segment of America that choses to be ignorant and are afraid of anyone who does not look or believe like them that they have a hate for. I am not going to ever fall for that.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:24 am |
    • Rak

      Hey Mirosal, stop reading your right-wing biographies. That marriage was not conusmated for many years after you freaking ignorant fool, stop trying to sound like an intellectual on this.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:26 am |
    • Mirosal

      Rak, I know. I've read the Qu'ran, and the companion guide to it. Still, for a grown man to even enter into that kind of relationship with someone that young, arranged or not, doesn't speak well of him.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:49 am |
  16. roccop777

    On almost a daily basis church buildings are burned and destroyed in Islam dominated countries such as Egypt, Sudan, Indonesia, Algeria etc - and also in countries where a large portion of the population are Muslims - such as Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, etc. In other countries one will be killed for even attempting to build a church building (Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen etc. The same is true if one dares to destroy or harm a copy of the Qur'an.
    This is in no way mentioned to justify this crime of arson burning down a mosque in Joplin, MO, or burning of Qur'ans - which disgusts most followers of Christ like myself and we oppose. I just wish the Islamic world would show some of the tolerance they expect from the West in their own countries.
    As followers of Jesus we are COMMANDED by our Lord Jesus not to seek vengeance or to repay evil with evil. If any of you out there claim to be a Christian and justify such criminal acts, know this: you are disobeying Christ and bringing shame on His name. We are called to overcome evil with good.

    August 7, 2012 at 3:22 am |
    • Not a muslim ... and not a christian either

      Actually, your god commands you to kill non believers. But you'd have to actually read your bible to know that.

      And what, because Iran is intolerant, you want to blame US muslims? Or do you expect Iran to become more tolerant? Talk about a pointless post.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • Muhammad

      Allahu Akbar the next tornado that hits Joplin will in-sha'Allah be tolerent. –Amin

      August 7, 2012 at 3:47 am |
    • Paul

      Well if people in other countries are doing it then i guess we should feel free to retaliate.... OR you can act like a grown up who is blessed to live in a country as great and diverse as ours...

      I suggest you keep your mouth shut and show some sympathy for people who have just had there place of worship burned to the ground. Its the American thing to do... and if you not interested in doing it... defect to china

      August 7, 2012 at 3:53 am |
    • roccop777

      to: Not a Muslim/not a Christian:
      I am not blaming US Muslims for the injustices perpetrated in Islamic dominated countries - I just WISH they would be motivated to encourage their brethren in the worldwide islamic community (Umma) to respond in kind. The fact is, although church building burnings and killing of Christians take place daily in Muslim countries - US Muslims rarely, if ever, make any show of disdain or demonstrate against injustices pepetrated by their brethren. This silence is deafening! - On the contrary, often US Muslims applaud and celebrate acts of islamic terrorism and oppression.
      To Paul– please read my comment completely. I in no way justified retaliation, but stated true Christians are commanded to refrain from such acts of hate and vengeance. But I feel it is one-sided to lament the burning down of a building - and at the same time keep silent about the burning down of church buildings with the people still in them by members of the islamic community.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:03 am |
    • Rak

      Please , please stop painting this broad brush of the Islamic World!!!!! There are plenty of places where there isn't any burnings, and if you are following the news closely, more Muslims (the more progressive ones) are killed in this so called Islamic world then other religions. Extremist thugs are bombing Sufi mosques and shrines at alarming rates, and ignorant Americans still can't piece it together (because most of you stick with Fox news and right-wing drivel) that there is a small subsection of Muslims who are the real problem around the world. It's just easier for all to paint a broad brush and lump us all together. Very sad.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:32 am |
    • Rak

      Roccop, I am very dissapointed in your posts, have you heard about the group ISNA – only the biggest Muslim organization in the US that constantly speaks out against such attacks around the world, and there are plenty of other examples. Again middle Amercicans need to know that news is not just found on Fox and CNN. The mass media doesn't report these things and the assumption is US Muslims don't speak out against anything. WHy is this country so ignorant? I am an American born Muslim and I was always proud of how intellgent this country was growing up only to be exposed to some of the most ignorant people you can find after traveling throughout the world.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:38 am |
    • MashaSobaka

      Attempting to compare one of the wealthiest secularized nations on the planet with impoverished or theocratic nations borders on the imbecilic. Just so you know.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  17. Kittyg

    Good riddance!

    August 7, 2012 at 3:18 am |
    • Not a muslim

      To the first amendment? Yeah, that was a stupid one anyway.

      BTW, if you're looking for a theocracy, I hear you can build your own. There's a great model in Iran you can use.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:21 am |
    • Ron

      Just think what would happen if Muslims started doing mass attacks all over America like bombing subway stations, bombing buses, attack shopping malls etc. Then people in this country will really hate Muslims and start retaliating.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • Muhammad

      You people better start doing something about the white men who mass murder people like you. You can not even go to a non-religous movie theater without being shot at by some loser like you.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:49 am |
  18. Jowl

    Soooo.. Where is Obamas speech on this? At least Bush had the balls to come out and tell everyone to cool down when there was a spate of Muslim incidents during his presidency.. Too busy raising money I guess to try and bring the country together.

    August 7, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • Not a muslim

      And I bet if he did you'd probably be on here complaining that he's actually a muslim.

      Bush railed against a wave of violence against muslims. This is likely one person – at most a very small group of people – committing a crime in a localized area. Talk about apples and oranges.


      You can't possibly be this moronic, can you? You've got to be a troll or a Poe.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:20 am |
    • Jowl

      Yeah only a couple more months of Obama left to deal with anyways..

      August 7, 2012 at 4:08 am |
  19. woohoo

    When one can't use reason and logic to show that one's mythology is better than everyone else's, there's always arson. Yeah, that'll show 'em who's fairy tale is better than whose.

    August 7, 2012 at 3:07 am |
  20. Mike

    This is a direct assault on one of the pillars of our republic. The freedom to practice one's faith. This is a picture that should touch all Americans who love this country.

    August 7, 2012 at 3:03 am |
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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.