Missouri mosque razed in arson attack
Since the establishment of the mosque, we've been constantly under attack." Navid Zaidi, former Joplin mosque board memberA mosque in the Midwestern US state of Missouri has been completely destroyed in a suspected arson attack, the second attack to hit the place of worship in a little more than a month. The Jasper County Sheriff's Office said the fire at the Islamic Society of Joplin was reported around 3:40 a.m. (0840 GMT), AFP reported on Monday. "The building was completely destroyed," said Sharon Rhine, a spokeswoman for the office, noting that no injuries were reported and no charges have been filed. "No-one was apprehended. They don't want to call it a hate crime without information or knowledge of having someone to charge," Rhine added. The Islamic Society's religious leader, Imam Lahmuddin, said he was "sad and shocked" about the fire. "We just take this as a test from God. God is testing us. This is the month of Ramadan. We are fasting. We are not supposed to get angry, we are not supposed to say anything bad," Lahmuddin said. "But that’s not only for this month, but for every day of our lives. In Ramadan we are more careful in guarding our tongues, not to say anything inappropriate."
On July 4, the same building became the target of a failed arson attack. No arrests were made and the FBI offered a USD15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the suspected arsonist."If it (Monday fire) is determined to be deliberately set, then we will look to see if there's a connection between this fire and the one set on July 4," said Bridget Patton, spokesperson for the FBI in Kansas City, Missouri. Local community members say it 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, adding that "Our sign has been burnt ... Our mailbox was smashed multiple times. We had bullets shot at our sign." The Monday incident came a day after a deadly shooting at a Sikh temple in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek in Wisconsin, which took the lives of six people. Muslim Mosques in the US are filled with jubilance during the holy month of Ramadan. MN/AS