I can’t believe that the Joplin mosque was burned to the ground. Some prayer rugs didn’t just get burned, we didn’t lose a few Qur’ans. The whole masjid was razed.
Someone came to the Joplin mosque last night at 3:30 am with the intention of wiping it off the map. The loss would be felt even if this was an accident, but we know that the pain is magnified under these hateful and bigoted conditions. During our most holy month, the Islamic community of America has lost a place to pray and a place of peace. But what these arsonists don’t understand is that the real mosques and the foundations of Islam are not in mortar or brick, but wherever the believers are. The foundation of Islam is in over one billion people in this world, in every state, country and language. You might be able to get rid of a mosque, but you can’t get rid of Islam.
”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.” - Imam Lahmuddin of the Joplin Mosque
Early Monday morning, someone set fire to the Islamic Society of Joplin during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan. The mosque couldn’t be saved, so now there are 50 Muslim families in Joplin, Missouri — the same town devastated by a tornado last May — without a place to worship.
The destruction follows earlier fires, including one on July 4, when someone threw a flaming object onto the mosque’s roof. If it was an attempt at arson, it wasn’t a very good one. There wasn’t much damage, though the miscreant managed to be captured in a security video, and the FBI offered a reward for information on the arson.
Oddly, despite the video evidence and reward, there was never an arrest. Muslims in Joplin probably weren’t surprised: When they opened their mosque and community center in 2007, their sign was torched. That crime, too, remains unsolved.
That’s a lot of open cases in a town as small as Joplin. I do not believe the arsonist acted alone, or in a vacuum. The perpetrator has bragged somewhere, in a bar, at work, at – yes! — church. And while Joplin residents would do well to hold a vigil and take up a collection to help their Muslim neighbors rebuild, the best thing would be to turn this yahoo in.