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. Using God

    America is supposed to be moving forward....enlightened..more education, more understanding but this is not the case. It is so sad to see America moving backward. At one time, America led the world...now, they are so intent on racism and egos...believing every lie told...it is sad.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  2. NWJeff

    Nothing is more unAmerican than hatred of people because of their religion or ethnicity. I am a white male raised as a Catholic. All the Muslims I know are kind, hard working people. Listening to these rants against Muslims makes me ashamed of being American.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • mom2boys

      I am in complete agreement with you.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • christine

      Very well said. This old white lady from the midwest agrees 100%!

      August 7, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  3. RVT1K

    Kind of like when those amazing Buddhist temples were destroyed but with one major difference. People here are disgusted by the act of arson. Yet the muslim silence on the temple destruction was deafening.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  4. Bob Hope's Ghost

    here's a thought, if the gays and muslims are being persecuted by the christians, maybe they could join together. Oh that's right, muslims want all gays executed. Boy, those peace loving muslims sure are nice.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • christine

      Complete lie. Where has any Muslim said they think gay people should be executed?

      August 7, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  5. Bill

    It's so funny how many of the same conservatives on here were whining about freedom of religious expression a couple of weeks ago when the Chick-Fil-A clown was spewing his archaic views on marriage, but yet here you are rejoicing in the burning of a mosque. Does this mean it's OK if we start burning down Chick-Fil-A's?

    August 7, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • Shalala

      Of course not. Don't you know that Chik-A-Fil was personally endorsed by the Jeebs?

      August 7, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • Miss Trixie

      Bill–who's happy that it burned down? M O R O N.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • assume much

      Bill your assuming it was a christian the burnt it down. It is just as likely it was a atheist

      August 7, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Ben

      Please name the person that made the two posts you mentioned.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  6. John

    It just seem to be the People have to hate some kind of People, First It was the Black and Now It the Muslim People. What ever happen to you people of the south keep sating that you are good Christan. Well I read In the Bible that all people are created equal . So what make you think you are so much better than any other race. Does being Christan meet that you are a RACIST.

    August 7, 2012 at 8:03 am |
  7. Bill

    One down, many more to go. burn baby, burn.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      To what are you referring?
      Mosques? Anywhere non-Christians gather? Any house of worship? The city of Joplin?

      August 7, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • Shalala

      Amurikah: land of the racists! (At least, that's how the rest of the world sees you).

      August 7, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • Matt

      Rick, you sound like an uneducated, angry, lonely man. I feel sorry for you, and for all the idiots that think burning someone elses property is OK. I am sure you would be upset if someone burned up those white sheets you run around in at night (again, like an idiot) with all your high school buddies in head lamps and pick-up trucks...

      August 7, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • joeymom

      Hmmm... would you want someone to say that about your church or home?

      August 7, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  8. real american

    so that fire shut down a political jihadist training center-

    August 7, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  9. Jarsbait

    Another American striking a blow for ..what exactly? This was the act of a fearful, puny, and stupid person without the ability to take care of themselves. Racists and bigots all fit that profile – they have to blame others for the misfortunes they have brought on themselves I hope they find him and put him away. I have no doubt he's proud of himself.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  10. Wunk

    Fire hot.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Fire bad.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  11. Paul

    Throughout its entire history, Islam has destroyed other people's places of worship. It's hardly surprising that someone will occasionally return the favor. Sad and unfortunate, but hardly surprising. Scream about anti-muslim bias all you like; a religion founded on the principle of "convert them or kill them" and still following that practice 1400 years later has no right to expect accommodation from its intended victims.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Fred

      You are 100% right. The amount of churches & even Christians that Muslims burn & kill everyday in Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan,....etc is unbelievable. Simply as their religion tells them either to become a Muslim or you will be killed.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • Cheerup6

      Where are you getting your history lessons Paul. Open your eyes... The thing is this. if muslims are killed and thrown out of their homelands, they fight back and tell the bad guys that you are not free to do whatever you want.. that's all. Does anyone else had guts to do that in the history. Find out

      August 7, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • indirect

      if ignorance is bliss, you must be a happy man. all religions have extremists. the media only focus on radicals because nobody wants to hear about people that want to worship in peace. christians have been killing each other for awhile, too. look at the catholics and protestants starting in the late 1500s up to the present times in northern ireland. and if you think the bible doesn't adcovate killing non-believers, you don't know your bible. here's a link to enlighten you: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_verses_in_the_Bible_advocate_killing_non_believers or just google "bible quotes non-believers". it's sad that people demean an entire religion for the actions of those who take the ideals of that religion and twist it to fit their own perverted agenda.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • Rundvelt

      > a religion founded on the principle of "convert them or kill them"

      What, like Christianity? Oops.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      St. Augustine's doctrine of "cognite intrare" (compel them to enter) has been used by Christians for 1500 yers to justify the forced conversion of heathers. As the Saint himself put it "The wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy. To love with sternness is better than to deceive with gentleness... In Luke 14:23 it is written: 'Compel people to come in!' By threats of the wrath of God, the Father draws souls to the Son."
      Starting with Christianity's rise at the tail end of the Roman Empire, non-christians have been put on notice: "We command that all their fanes, temples, and shrines, if even now any remain entire, shall be destroyed by the command of the magistrates, and shall be purified by the erection of th sign of the venerable Christian religion."
      – emperor Theodosius

      From the 15th to the 18th century, Augustine's statements were the cornerstone of a PR campaign in which elaborate tales of Devil Worship were concocted to justify witch hunts so they could wipe out dissent, subordinate the individual to authoritarian control, and openly denigrate women.
      Even today, groups like the Manmasi National Christian Army and the National Liberation Front of Tripura continue to spout the same argument to rationalize their murder of Hindu adults and the conversion of their children at gun point.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  12. Larry

    I think the community of Joplin is making a statement, maybe the muslims should listen for a change.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:40 am |
  13. JAB62

    Hey toad, Atheists are the ONLY honest people on earth. We are equal opportunity abusers. Your religion is just as bad as the next. But we also don not believe in taking away your rights to believe and worship as you choose. Only Christians would do that.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:35 am |
  14. babooph

    I recall when it was black churches.....

    August 7, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  15. CD

    How sad. Wait, I just got over it.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:27 am |
  16. Flatsguide

    Jeeze, that's a real shame.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:20 am |
  17. tom

    Sounds as if someone finally got it right!

    August 7, 2012 at 7:18 am |
    • allan

      I am American....That is really mean to say, honestly...Wheather it's Christian, Hindu, Mulism, Jewish, or any religion....having your place of worship destroyed is not a joking matter. There could have been innocent lives lost. Two wrongs do not make a right. I can't believe American's are this blindsided and racist.....really?

      August 7, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Nothing says "Christian Love" like fiery death, eh?

      August 7, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  18. toad

    This event was brought about by enemies of Islam. The atheist filth that congregate on this blog and celebrate such things are enemies of God. Followers of Muhammad are at least people of faith.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • Flatsguide

      Or the least people of faith is more like it.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • Mirosal

      We Atheists have no reason to burn down any mosque, synogogue, temple or church. We really don't care if and where you practice your faith. We would actually prefer you have your monuments to mythology intact, so you can KEEP your religion inside of them, instead of knocking on MY door, going on television, and places like here telling us we HAVE to follow YOUR path or we'll be punished forever. That's an empty threat, and if your "god" is mad that not everyone worships "him", then tell your "god" to get its ass out here and tell us in person. We'll be waiting, and it will be a VERY long wait.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • John in WNY

      Your totally off base and sadly this was more likely the act of someone who thinks of themselves as Christian.

      Religion doesn't cause hatred, but it's often used by people to justify their hatred of others.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • GB

      Toad, when you think about it, the athiest is right, more people have been killed in defense of religion, whether Islam or Christianity, yet neither of you or anyone else on this planet has tangible evidence that God exists. That's why religion is a "belief," which i totally respect, but not worth harming others because they disagree with you. Many jihadists have nothing to go home to.. no jobs, no money, no education, no life. It's a control issue. Without these basic comforts of life, man feels a loss of control. So they attempt to gain control by force and violence.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:52 am |
  19. gatecrasher1

    9/11: Never Forget. Never Forgive.

    August 7, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • allan

      Just because some extremeist hurt someone does not mean all innocent people have to suffer for someone elses actions. That doesn't make sense. There are extremeists in all religions...just look at the American Government. =)

      August 7, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • gatecrasher1

      Try not even being able to bury your friends because there is nothing left of them but dust. Then see if you can cry for the diaperheads.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • allan

      Muslims don't wear diapers on their heads first of all...you are confusing them with another religion....You have to give an educated answer and understand a religion before you can make comments about hating it or not, then you can actually appear to look "smart". Anyways..I understand it must be hard losing your friends and loved ones, especially in such a tragic way. But you can't punish every single Muslim for an action of some pakistani extremist...There were all types of people lost on 9/11..Jewish, Christian and MUSLIM...just because it happened in America does not mean it was just Christians and White people. There were asians, white, black, mixed...all types of people and races and religions. The extremeists were attacking based on that we all were American....not religion or race, but what most Americans are doing is just that...it's just sad to see people fighting for the wrong thing. Anyways, God speed I hope you can have closure one day. Take care.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • John in WNY

      Well following your, so called, logic, any attacks by muslims against Christians is justified based on the crusades. As you said " Never Forget. Never Forgive."

      Although I'm not sure how you connect 9/11 up to targeting a bunch of people that had nothing to do with it. If my neighbor blows my house us should I come to your place and burn it to the ground? I guess that might sound reasonably to some, but then again so does getting a gun and going into a movie theater or Sikh temple.

      There is nothing more pathetic then someone hiding behind religion to excuse their hatred, be they Muslim or Christian.

      August 7, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Wasn't the obliteration of Afghanistan's countryside, the usurping of their government, klilling of tens of thousands of civilians, and the transfer of their natrional resources into the hands of American corporate interests revenge enough?

      August 7, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  20. Rick

    RAK...you're an idiot. Fight fire with fire so be it. Muslim religion is a joke founded on trash....and a pedophile

    August 7, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • Rak

      Rick I am an idiot with 2 masters from one of America's "elite" universities and double your IQ. Go enjoy your paperback right-wing racist ingorant bigoted drivel and drive your IQ few points lower. I leave you with this quote because I can't deal much more with ignorant trash: "expressly for the use of any preacher of any religious persuasion who might desire to say something to the people at Philadelphia ; the design in building not being to
      accommodate any particular sect, but the inhabitants in general ; so that even if the Mufti of Constanti
      nople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism (Islam) to us, he would find a pulpit at his
      service." – Ben Franklin from his Autobiography

      August 7, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And Paul was a raging misogynist, Joe Smith was a convicted con-man and polygamist, Martin Luther was violently anti-semitic etc. ad nauseum.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Mirosal

      I guess ol' Ben knew a little about freedom of religion ... but I am a little confused ... some of his writings suggest he is a Deist, and some lean towards Atheism. So whch was he?

      August 7, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Tiger

      Rick, you are pathetic, uneducated, M O R O N. May I ask God to burn your house so you can feel the pain.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Rak

      Franklin was a deist, he among other founder fathers were educated on all major religions. He and Jefferson both owned and read the Quran and there is no evidence of negativity about Islam from either. Unfortunately not the case with people these days cherry picking things and crafting what they want, that can be done with any religion or belief system.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:44 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.