Dawn News

Fire destroys Missouri mosque

A Carl Junction, Mo., firefighter works to extinguish the smoldering remains of the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque. The FBI is investigating the cause of the latest fire and whether or not it was also the result of arson, said agency spokeswoman Bridgett Patton. - AP photo

JOPLIN: A mosque in southwest Missouri burned to the ground early Monday, the second fire to hit the Islamic center in little more than a month, officials said.

The fire at the Islamic Society of Joplin was reported about 3:30 a.m. Monday, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office said stating that the building was a total loss. No injuries were reported and no charges have been filed.

Imam Lahmuddin, who leads the mosque and was in the building until late Sunday, said he was “sad and shocked” about the fire.

“I’m still in front of the building looking at the damage and nothing can be saved,” Lahmuddin said in a telephone interview Monday.

“But since we are people of faith we just can remember that this is a thing that happened because God let it happen, and we have to be patient, particularly in the month of Ramadan, control our emotions, our anger.”

A blaze at the same building July 4 caused minor damage and was determined arson. No arrests were made and the FBI has offered a $15,000 reward for information leading to charges in that fire.

The agency released video footage of what appeared to be a man starting the July blaze that did not cause extensive damage. Sharon Rhine, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said the center’s security cameras were burned in the Monday fire.

The FBI is investigating the cause of the latest fire and whether or not it was also the result of arson, said agency spokeswoman Bridgett Patton.

A Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization meanwhile called for more police protection at mosques and other houses of worship following the Joplin fire and a deadly attack at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. The Council on American-Islamic Relations also offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever started the mosque fire.

About 50 families belong to the Islamic Society of Joplin, which opened in 2007 as a mosque and community center. The FBI led an investigation in 2008 when the mosque’s sign was torched. That crime also remained unsolved.

Lahmuddin, who has lived in Joplin for about four years, said several people were at the center late Sunday. He said despite the attacks, the center’s members have good relationships with residents and other churches. He said many are doctors at area hospitals.

On Sunday, a gunman killed six people at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee. The imam said it was a cause of great concern that both faiths had seemingly come under attack.

“I heard that yesterday, and this morning we see this happen in our place,” he said. “We are more fortunate that no one here got hurt in this incident.”

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Comments (24) Closed

Aug 07, 2012 06:38am
"Washington will not be able to contain" because of people like U who r flaming the fires of hatred. Even your beliefs if you are practising any religion does not teach hatred with fellow humans of any race.color or creed.
Cyrus Howell
Aug 06, 2012 07:23pm
This will all stop when Pakistanis and Indians stop murdering their daughters. Better for all of them to get out of the USA and go go murder their daughters elsewhere. I have been predicting these attacks on Muslims for a few years. You are looking at the beginning, a beginning Washington will not be able to contain.
Aug 06, 2012 07:31pm
..."The FBI led an investigation in 2008 when the mosque’s sign was torched. That crime also remained unsolved......" REALLY AMAZING.....
Aug 06, 2012 07:53pm
Nothing can justify burning or shooting of place of worship. Only sick mind like yours can come to such a pathetic conclusion.
Aug 06, 2012 07:57pm
Cyrus people like contribute to such incidents
Aug 06, 2012 08:20pm
@Cyrus Howell - What a bigoted remark! Talk about generalizing an entire ethnic group due to a few misguided individuals. Whats your excuse for the murders in Columbine and Denver or the terrorist bombing by Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma. Did the victims kill their own daughters too that they had to be shot in cold blood?
Aug 06, 2012 08:25pm
With 1.5 million immigrants admitted to the US every year from Third World countries, mosque burning will become a common occurrence. America is well on its way to becoming a Third World country itself, and Americans just aren't going to stand by and watch the destruction of their country and culture.
Aug 06, 2012 08:28pm
Mr. Howell, With due respect, it is not logical to brand the masses with the crime of very few. These people who have murdered their daughters and terrorism on the name of Islam have nothing to do with Islam - they are mentally sick and should be punished with harshest of punishments. If you have any doubts about my comments, please consult the professors (non-muslims) of Islamic Studies in the U.S. to learn the teachings of Islam. OBL and these murderers have nothing to do with Islam. If Allah has chosen a path of destruction for Muslims around the globe and in the U.S. then, be it, it is the destiny of Muslims. But, please do not relate Islam with these killers since there is absolutely no correlation.
Aug 06, 2012 08:52pm
I think you are totally ignorant here, its not just Indians or Pakistanis but also the whites maybe you dont stay uptodate with the news or are whites are a master race, The USA is a land that is occupied by European ancestors who slaughtered and murdered the native Red Indians so in that case why dont you get out and go back to Europe.
adnan khan
Aug 06, 2012 09:15pm
Cyrus i think the number of daughters and childeren murdered in USA and the number of child abuses are far more than any othe rcountry of the world.this act shows that the most extremist state and the top terrorist state in the world is USA.you will not find Pakistanis burning or attacking worship places like Temples or Churches.
Aug 06, 2012 09:56pm
People will stop flying planes into buildings when americans will stop murdering people all over the world.
Muzaffer Haider
Aug 06, 2012 10:24pm
This is not the first time which has happened in history. Crusaders tried it and a lot of others tried it but you can still hear the sound of Azan 24hrs a day some where in the world.These deplorable incidents only reflect the ignorance and fustrations of illiterate people.
Aug 06, 2012 10:51pm
You are a bigot. Some of the members of this mosque are Physicians saving American lives.
Aug 06, 2012 10:52pm
miscreants are everywhere. please do not get misguided. ALLAH WILL TAKE CARE OF MOSQUES and all people in the world . cyrus howell is right that no body should be murdered whether inside mothers womb or outside.
Aug 06, 2012 11:11pm
Too Many mosques in Pakistan. Un-organised. Look at the wazoo area and tell me if you can call it a civilized area. Not kep very clean.
Aug 06, 2012 11:47pm
Thank you for supporting white Amrtican terrorism and being so honest. Glad you represented what White America is all about. Wonderful
Aug 06, 2012 11:48pm
Why don't you Americans move from rich middle eastern oil countries and from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Aug 06, 2012 11:59pm
I believed, in america everything revolved arround the elections. But this shows something like what happens in indo-pak, the stimulis behind it is religious intollerance. It's weird.
Aug 07, 2012 01:08am
Thank God there not too many Cyrus Howell kind of folks here in US. Most Americans are decent people, no matter what you hear from a few foul mouthed people like Mr. Howell here.
Aug 07, 2012 02:20am
@ Cyrus.. it's best to air your dirty laundry aka filthy comments on forums that preach intolerant and racist behaviour. This FORUM isn't one of them!!!!!!!!!!!
Aug 07, 2012 02:38am
Its people like you who love to spread hatred and think that burning down a place of worship is the right thing to do. There is no difference between you and the people who kill their daughters. You are both from the same evil gene. We are not going anywhere. We are here to stay.
Aug 07, 2012 02:46am
Mosques are regularily damaged in the USA - and get zero press. Because the that would mean presenting a story where muslims were victims. Unlikely to happen. Wonder what would happen if the same were to happen to a Synogogue?
hashaam ud din
Aug 07, 2012 02:54am
Americans! It is the begining of the End. Wait and see and we are waiting too. Your system shall soon see destruction, never heard before.
hina aali
Aug 07, 2012 04:14am
is that a threat?