Mosque burned in Joplin: Another hate crime?
Hours after the shooting in Wisconsin, a mosque burns to the ground in tornado-ravaged Joplin
By Susan Campbell
The shooting at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin is the dayâ€™s worst example of hateful violence â€” but it is not, sadly, the only one. Early Monday morning, someone set fire to the Islamic Society of Joplin during Islamâ€™s holy month of Ramadan. The mosque couldnâ€™t be saved, so now there are 50 Muslim families in Joplin, Missouri â€” the same town devastated by a tornado last May â€” without a place to worship.
The destruction follows earlier fires, including one on July 4, when someone threw a flaming object onto the mosqueâ€™s roof. If it was an attempt at arson, it wasnâ€™t a very good one. There wasnâ€™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 werenâ€™t surprised: When they opened their mosque and community center in 2007, their sign was torched. That crime, too, remains unsolved.
Thatâ€™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 â€“ yes! â€” 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.
I am from Joplin, and so I believe in the goodness of people who live there.