Mosque Destroyed by Fire in Joplin, Missouri; Arson Suspected
A fire at the mosque of the Islamic Society of Joplin, Missouri destroyed the house of worship on Monday, August 6. Federal agents are investigating the blaze, which appears to have been started intentionally.
The mosque, which has been vandalized numerous times in the past, opened in 2007 and served about 50 families in the area. The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has already issued a $15,000 reward for information about an incident from July 4, where someone threw a fiery projectile into the building. According to CNN, the members of the mosque have seen an "outpouring of support" from the citizens of Joplin.
Joplin television station KOAM TV 7 captured this video of the aftermath of the blaze:
FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Kaste told NBC news:
If this fire is determined to be deliberate in nature it will be investigated to the fullest extent possible. Any act of violence to a house of worship is taken very seriously by law enforcement and threatens the very core of the safety and security that our communities enjoy.
If the fire is ruled an arson, the $15,000 reward from the July 4 incident would extend to the August 7 fire as well. The Council on American Islamic Relations is offering $10,000 for information leading to the cause of the August 7 fire as well.
We will bring you more details on this story as they become available.