The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

August 17, 2012

Our View: Public’s help needed regarding mosque fire

Federal investigators on Thursday announced they have not been able to determine the cause of a fire that burned down a Joplin mosque on Aug. 6.

It doesn’t mean the fire is no longer being viewed as suspicious or that the investigation is closed. Rather, this newest detail suggests there is not enough physical evidence in hand to conclude how the fire started.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will be counting on the public to assist them in tracking down the person or persons who may be responsible for the fire and an earlier attempt.

The feds continue to release images of a man caught on video surveillance on July 4. The individual is shown tossing lighted paper up on top of the roof of the mosque. The video can be viewed on our website at www.joplinglobe.com.

Rewards are being offered in hopes someone will step forward with information that could lead to an arrest. The FBI and ATF are offering $15,000 for information that could lead to an arrest in the July 4 fire, while the Council on American-Islamic Relations has added a $10,000 reward for the arrest of those involved in either incident.

As for the members of the Islamic Society of Joplin, they are focused now on Sunday’s celebration of Eid al-Fitr at the Holiday Inn Convention Center. The event marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Hina Qidwai of Joplin, a member of the Islamic Society, said she’s taking the federal investigators at face value when they say they don’t know what caused the fire.

“We will wait and see. As for right now, this is a deeply spiritual time for us. It is a time of prayer. We are praying for our community,” Qidwai said in a phone interview.

There are many across Joplin and the nation who as praying as well for a resolution to the mosque fire. We would urge anyone who believes he has information that could help close this case to contact the authorities.

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