US mosque razed in suspected arson

2012-08-06 21:46

Washington - A mosque burned to the ground in the midwestern US on Monday, in what worshippers suspect was a hate attack, less than a day after a deadly shooting at a Sikh temple.

Firefighters and police were called to a blaze at the Islamic Centre in Joplin, Missouri - where about 125 members of the local Muslim community pray - at around 03:40 (08:40 GMT), according to the FBI's Kansas City office.

"The building was completely destroyed," said Sharon Rhine, a spokesperson for the local Jasper County sheriff's office. No one was wounded in the incident.

"No-one was apprehended. They don't want to call it a hate crime without information or knowledge of having someone to charge," Rhine said.

Monday's blaze followed an attack on 4 July, when an unidentified suspect threw a petrol bomb onto the roof of the same mosque, causing minor damage.

The mosque's surveillance cameras captured an image of the assailant's face, and the FBI offered a $15 000 reward for information related to the July incident, but no one has been apprehended.

"It does seem coincidental that there was a fire a month ago and there was another one this month," Rhine said.

FBI spokesperson Bridget Patton said both incidents occurred in the middle of the night, but said the FBI would "wait to determine the cause of the fire".

"If it is determined that the attack was intentional, we will conduct and investigation to see if there is any correlation between this fire and that of [4] July," Patton added.

Series of attacks

Local community members say this is one of a series of attacks on their mosque since it was founded in 2007.

"Since the establishment of the mosque, we've been constantly under attack," said former mosque board member Navid Zaidi, 47. "Our sign has been burnt ... Our mailbox was smashed multiple times. We had bullets shot at our sign."

Zaidi says the local community is lucky the attack occurred in the early morning, when no one was there.

"During Ramadan is a time when more people attend the services. We are fortunate that no one was hurt today," he said, referring to the ongoing Muslim holy month of fasting and prayer.

Zaidi complained that no suspects have been apprehended in the month since the 4 July attack.

"I don't recall in my 27 years in the US, ever seeing perpetrators apprehended," he said.

At an attack at a Sikh Temple on Sunday, a gunman shot and killed six people before he was shot by a police officer.

"We hope these are isolated events, but suddenly they have become more regular and bolder," Zaidi said.

  • zaatheist - 2012-08-07 04:18

    The fundie Christians in the US have been drumming up anti-Muslim sentiment and hatred so it does not take much for some religiously crazed Bible belt zealots to believe they are acting in the name of their god to attack those who worship the same god in a different manner. Gods have been one of the oldest and most driving inspirations for human conflict, even if only as a mask for economic and territorial gain. The sinister ingenuity of gods is that, when all other wars to occupy us have ceased, there exists another reason, readily at hand and needing little or no justification in order to once more beat plowshares into swords.

  • Martin - 2012-08-07 10:19

    Terrible and disgraceful for the world's leading democracy. the US needs to accept that Islam is there to stay.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-07 10:31

      Given that the USA politicians have been killing and murdering Muslims for decades now, it's no surprise it filters down into the general mentality.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-07 14:25

      Again, and as usual, you post doesn't detract from my statement!

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-08-07 14:41

      As usual its ridiclous statement, really haven't seen gun-toting US politicians on Muslim hate feuled murder rampages for decades .

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-07 14:54

      Do try and post something with at least some pretensions to intellectual honesty as you know exactly what my statement means, but have chosen to be willfully ignorant.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-08-07 15:31

      "Given that the USA politicians have been killing and murdering Muslims for decades now" Whats the misrepresentation ? If you mean't something else then state that otherwise its just a veiled attempt at slander by insinuation of religous persecution . Its vacuous because the following is just as valid " US politicians having been murdering and killing Americans for decades now ". Its true but doesn't represent the reality , truth and is intellectually dishonest . Its malicous generalisation with the sole purpose of denigrating an entire country .At least a person who out right says " Americans are c%u#s " has less sinister motivations.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-07 15:51

      By US politicians I mean its government, which has been slaughtering Muslims in faraway lands, like Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, etc..and itching to go into Syria and Iran, to kill more Muslims. If you see no correlation between US adventures in the ME and how its citizens perceive Muslims, then again, be free to be willfully ignorant.

      boom.baracus - 2012-08-07 16:11

      Fidel what's the difference between s-e-c-u-l-a-r and c-i-r-c-u-l-a-r? The one is how your logic works. Can you guess which? IDIOT!!!!

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-08-07 16:27

      Really it appears that the US govt has bent over backwards to accomodate the Islamic faith dispite gross insensitivity by the community in regards to ground zero mosque ect but i'm sure that terror attacks in the name of the religion did nothing to tarnish its image on american perceptions and commiting international attacks around the world helped a lot too. Burning flags , effigies (which is just as offensive as a kora desecration) as well as acts of war like burning down emmbassies. I'm sure the US is just going to sit back an capitulate to death cult attacks and complicit regimes who sponsor this. By all means apply the same standard of Muslims killing fellow muslims in Iraq , Yemen , Afganistan , Pakistan ,Libya ,Syria and Iran.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-07 16:40

      You're extrapolating the actions of a few onto a whole population of 300 million, and their government.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-07 17:20

      @Ninja You have made your point though, so well done. It's a shame the point was such a tedious one but well done nevertheless.

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