By Jeff Lehr
The FBI has taken over an investigation of the torching of the sign for the Islamic Society of Joplin’s mosque as a possible hate crime.
Somebody set the sign for the mosque at 1302 Black Cat Road on fire early Thursday morning. The Carl Junction Fire Department responded to a 1:26 a.m. report of the fire.
Fire Engineer Bill Nauta said there’s no doubt that the fire, which ruined the wooden sign, was deliberately set. Nauta said he could not tell if an accelerant had been used.
“I didn’t see anything spilled,” he said. “They would have to sample something at a lab.”
The Jasper County Sheriff’s Department was notified of the arson and initiated an investigation, but the case was taken over on Friday by the FBI.
“I think this is a hate crime, yes,” said Navid Zaidi, treasurer for the board of directors of the Islamic Society of Joplin.
Zaidi said the mosque has not been the object of much racial or religious animosity since opening in February 2007. Someone stole two air conditioners from the mosque in the summer of that year, but that could not be construed as hate-motivated, he said.
More recently, a Muslim family leaving the mosque after a service was offended verbally by some young men in a pickup truck who had stopped to look at the sign, Zaidi said. They yelled some things that the family could not make out but sensed were racially hateful, he said. Zaidi did not know if that incident could be related to the fire.
The mosque’s congregation has grown to about 40 families, with some coming from as far away as Springfield and Tulsa, Okla., Zaidi said. It is open for prayer five times a day and is especially busy right now in the month of Ramadan, he said.
By Jeff Lehr
- Joplin Metro
Longtime Democrat dies at 81
Sapp, 81, died Thursday. Funeral services were Monday at the First Presbyterian Church of Joplin. A longtime Jasper County Democratic committeewoman and volunteer, Sapp for years was secretary to the county’s central committee.
Nixon visits Joplin to sign breast density bill
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation at Freeman Hospital on Tuesday that will require radiologists in Missouri to provide information about breast density on post-mammogram reports.
Defendant draws 10 years for assault of ex-girlfriend
A Jasper County judge today sentenced a rural Joplin man to 10 years in prison for an assault on an ex-girlfriend with a walking stick that left one of her eyes detached from its socket.
Rural Joplin child dies from gunshot wound to head
A 3-year-old girl died Monday at 11:30 a.m. Monday at Freeman Health Systems after suffering a gunshot wound to the head. The incident occurred at the child's home in rural Joplin, said Sheriff Ken Copeland.
Suspect in coach's slaying posts bond
Jeffrey Bruner posted bond shortly before noon today and was released from the Jasper County Jail in Carthage.
Downtown group warns about Third Thursday mail scam
Officials with the Downtown Joplin Alliance on Friday announced that a mail scam involving Third Thursday has been discovered.
PART TWO: Joplin City Council report documents continued
As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. Documents are converted for digital viewing.
The amount of documentation we received is extensive, and testimonies are continued here.
PART ONE: Joplin Globe receives copy of investigation named in court order
As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. As documents are converted for digital viewing, they will be uploaded here.
In City Council race, Joplin voters elect two newcomers, three incumbents
Joplin voters rejected two incumbents who voted to fire City Manager Mark Rohr, instead electing two newcomers and returning three incumbents to the City Council who had supported Rohr.
Joplin voters reject all three charter changes
The changes were placed on the ballot by the City Council acting upon recommendations by a Charter Review Commission that met last fall.
- More Joplin Metro Headlines
- Longtime Democrat dies at 81