A Carl Junction, Mo., firefighter works to extinguish the smoldering remains of the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque, Aug. 6, 2012, in Joplin, Mo. (T. Rob Brown/AP Photo)
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- 0% SAD
A mosque in Joplin, Missouri that had been the target of at least one previous arson attack burned to the ground in a suspicious fire Monday morning, according to police reports.
The mosque, operated by Islamic Society of Joplin, was reported to be on fire at 3:30 am Monday Morning. Firefighters found the entire structure in flames, and the whole building was lost. No injuries were reported. The FBI is investigating whether the fire was due to arson. No charges have been filed as of yet.
The mosque, a house of worship for about 50 families in the Joplin area, has allegedly been a previous arson target. Earlier this summer on July 4, the mosque suffered a fire causing minor damages. The FBI determined that that fire was due to arson, based on security camera footage and offered a $15,000 reward for information leading to prosecution. In 2008, the mosque’s sign was apparently torched, one year after the mosque was opened. The FBI’s investigation of that incident remains unsolved.
Imam Lahmuddin of the Joplin mosque expressed sorrow over the fire, but placed it in a religious context.
"I'm still in front of the building looking at the damage and nothing can be saved," Lahmuddin said. "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."
The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the alleged perpetrator(s). CAIR also linked the alleged arson to the recent attack on a Sikh house of worship in Madison, Wisconsin, and called for more police protection of Muslim and Sikh religious centers.