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 day’s worst example of hateful violence — but it is not, sadly, the only one. 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.
I am from Joplin, and so I believe in the goodness of people who live there.