JOPLIN, Mo. —
A third fire at the mosque west of Joplin — all of them suspicious — within four years is part of a national trend.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations have tracked dozens of fires, firebombings and incidents of vandalism at mosques around the country.
A few examples:
• A mosque in Queens, N.Y., was firebombed in January with worshippers inside. There were no injuries.
• An arson attack on a Houston, Texas, mosque was reported in May 2011.
• Construction equipment was set afire at the site of a mosque being built in Murfreesboro, Tenn., in August 2010.
• An Oct. 31, 2011, arson fire at a mosque in Wichita, Kan., caused an estimated $120,000 in damage.
• In April 2011 burned three copies of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, and left a threatening letter near the entrance of the Islamic Center of Springfield mosque. The anonymous letter claimed that Muslims would “stain the earth” and that Islam wouldn’t survive.
• A fire at a Kansas City mosque in February 2011 was termed “suspicious.”
• In 2010, an arson fire damaged the Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, Ore.