Early Wednesday morning a fire was started in Joplin, Missouri at the Islamic Society of Joplin’s mosque. Officials are treating the fire as suspicious.
The FBI has been called in to aid in the investigation, according to Capt. Kelly Stephens of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department. Security cameras on the property are currently being reviewed by authorities, and are providing leads in the investigation. Capt. Stephens declined to say what the tapes revealed.
The fire was started on the roof, but was caught in time to prevent major damage to the mosque. However, this does not underscore the severity of the potential hate crime that took place.
Iftikhar Ali, President of the Islamic Society of Joplin, was at the property until midnight. He said his family and members of the community were lighting fireworks there and “having fun and celebrating Independence Day.”
Around four a.m. Ali received a phone call and arrived shortly afterward to find the building surrounded by fire and police trucks.
“There are good and bad people everywhere,” Ali said. “There’s still no change in our feelings. It’s still America. We enjoy life here.”
This is the second suspicious fire at the mosque. In 2008, the sign for the mosque was torched, and despite an FBI investigation, the crime was never solved.
Ryan, Kelsey (2012, July). FBI called to investigate fire at Joplin mosque. http://www.joplinglobe.com. Retrieved July 5, 2012, from http://www.joplinglobe.com/topstories/x2004678630/FBI-called-to-investigate-fire-at-Joplin-mosque