The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

August 6, 2012

‘Suspicious’ fire destroys Joplin mosque

FBI puts 30 agents on case

JOPLIN, Mo. — About a month after the roof of the Islamic Society of Joplin’s mosque was damaged in a suspected arson, the entire building burned down in a suspicious fire early Monday, leaving little but charred remains.

The wreckage of the structure was still smoldering at 8 a.m. as Carl Junction fire crews started to leave the scene. They received a call from a newspaper carrier around 3:30 a.m.

The incident came a day after the deadly shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

The FBI has about 30 agents investigating the fire, said Michael Kaste, special agent in charge of the Kansas City FBI office. He said it would continue to be characterized as “suspicious” until a cause could be determined. He said the investigation was in its preliminary stage.

“If this fire is determined to be deliberate in nature, it will be investigated to the fullest extent possible,” Kaste said. “Any act of violence to a house of worship is taken very seriously by law enforcement, and threatens the very core of the safety and security that our communities enjoy.”

He said if it’s determined that the fire was deliberately set, the $15,000 reward offered for an arrest in the July 4 fire at the mosque would be extended to cover Monday’s fire.

An outdoor sign at the mosque was burned in 2008. That crime was unsolved.

‘A TEST FROM GOD’

“This should not stop us from serving God,” said Imam Lahmuddin, the mosque’s religious leader, at the scene. “We still have to fulfill our obligation. We will do our prayers in other places. If we don’t find a place, we will do our prayers in our home. We cannot miss any of the five prayers.”

Lahmuddin said the members of the mosque do not have plans yet for where they will pray, but it is still early.

“We just take this as a test from God. God is testing us,” he said. “This is the month of Ramadan. We are fasting. We are not supposed to get angry. We are not supposed to say anything bad. But that’s not only for this month, but for every day of our lives. In Ramadan, we are more careful in guarding our tongues, not to say anything inappropriate. We come here during the month of Ramadan more often. Last night (Sunday) we left at about 11:20 p.m. when we finished final prayers, and we were supposed to get in here about 5 a.m. for the morning prayer. But God has a plan.”

The mosque, located at 1302 S. Black Cat Road, serves about 50 families in the area.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Omar Ahmed, 15, who came to the scene around 5 a.m. “It’s a house of worship. It’s a place of God.”

Some people like to stay the night at the mosque during Ramadan, Ahmed said, but no one was in the building at the time of the fire.

“The whole thing was on fire,” Ahmed said. “As soon as we turned on 32nd Street and Black Cat Road, you could just see the pillars (of smoke).”

During the month of Ramadan, which ends on Aug. 18, Muslims fast from sunup to sundown. At the end of the month, they will celebrate Eid-al-Fitr.

“It’s basically our Christmas,” Ahmed said.

Text Only
Top Stories
  • 041814 EPA projects5_72.jpg Contaminated mine tailings could be used on west bypass

    About 500 acres of former mining land at Wildwood Ranch have been reclaimed by contractors working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More than 1 million cubic yards of contaminated mine tailings in the form of chat and waste rock have been consolidated in a surface repository that someday could be part of the roadbed for a limited-access highway that transportation planners hope to build on the west side of Joplin.

    April 20, 2014 4 Photos

  • Joplin City Council to hear baseball plan details

    Proposed redevelopment plans for Joe Becker Stadium will be discussed with the Joplin City Council in a work session at the end of its regular meeting tonight. The WLD Suarez partnership has obtained a franchise of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball that succeeds the El Paso (Texas) Diablos.

    April 20, 2014

  • Money to area lawmakers slows down but doesn’t stop

    With the Legislature back in session, the flow of campaign cash to local candidates has slowed. But in this election year, the money did not completely stop. All members of the local delegation to the Missouri General Assembly are on the ballot this year, but only two lawmakers are facing opposition.

    April 20, 2014

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014