The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

August 14, 2012

Joplin Muslims secure location for holiday event

Eid al-Fitr marks end of Ramadan this weekend

Joplin Muslims have found a location for celebrating the biggest holiday in Islam on Sunday.

Their mosque was destroyed on Aug. 6 in a suspicious fire.

The members of the Islamic Society of Joplin will celebrate Eid al-Fitr at the Holiday Inn Convention Center. The event, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, isn’t open to the general public.

The FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the fire. As of Tuesday, there were no developments in the case. No cause for the fire had been determined.

A July 4 fire at the mosque, which caused minor roof damage and for which there is a surveillance video of the person who started the fire, was intentionally set. The sign at the mosque had previously been burned and subsequently shot at with firearms.

Federal authorities have offered a $15,000 reward for the arrest of those involved in the July 4 fire. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those involved in either fire.

Kimberly Kester, a mosque member and spokeswoman, said Eid al-Fitr for Muslims is the equivalent of Christmas for Christians.

“It’s our most important holiday,” Kester said. “It’s a celebration. It’s a very important time to be with family.”

She said families have special treats and foods they will prepare from their cultures to break the monthlong Ramadan fast.

Meanwhile, a planned rally to show community support for local Muslims after the fire remains in need of money.

“Neighbors — Joplin Mosque Rally” on Tuesday afternoon still needed about $2,500, said organizer Ashley Carter, an Ozark Christian College student. The money is needed for things including insurance, rent, portable toilets, trash cans and a sound system

Carter said she plans to go ahead with the event, trusting that the money will come in. She said she was able to get a discount on the insurance rate.

The rally is planned for 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, in Landreth Park.

Speakers lined up for the event include Rick Love, president of Peace Catalyst International. Entertainment is to include The Kominas, a New York City band.

The Islamic Society of Joplin’s Facebook page included this about the rally: “This event is about much more than rebuilding the mosque. It is about uniting a community against hate and violence. The students who organized this event need your support.”



Donations

PEOPLE MAY CONTRIBUTE to the “Neighbors — Joplin Mosque Rally” through the PayPal account on the event’s Facebook page. People also may enter the name of the event into a search engine to find the Facebook page.

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