The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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August 15, 2012

Mosque rally is a go; group has money needed to produce event

JOPLIN, Mo. — The rally will go on.

The Neighbors — Joplin Mosque Rally is a go after the last of the money needed to produce the event came in about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, said organizer Ashley Carter, a 20-year-old student at Ozark Christian College.

She said several people got together and contributed the remaining amount, about $2,500, needed to hold the event. The deadline for the funding was Wednesday, and Carter had said Tuesday that she was going forward with plans, trusting that the money would come through.

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

Carter and other organizers decided that the rally would provide the best response to the suspicious fire that destroyed the Islamic Society of Joplin’s mosque on the morning of Aug. 6. The FBI and other agencies are investigating the fire, but there was no new information on Wednesday.

A fire at the mosque on July 4 caused minor damage and was ruled an act of arson. A surveillance video of that incident showed a man, wearing a dark-colored, long-sleeved shirt with a collar, lighting a package and throwing it onto the roof of the mosque with his left hand.

The FBI has offered a $15,000 reward, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations has offered a $10,000 reward.

Carter said there would be no admission charge for the rally, in order to encourage more participation. The event’s Facebook page on Wednesday included 661 people who said they would go.

“No one needs to pay to attend, but what we do ask of our attendees is to pay it forward — show the healing power of love to all members of our community,” reads a news release for the event.

The news release notes that opportunities to demonstrate support at the rally will include writing words of encouragement on a banner for the members of the mosque, creating artwork, donating to rebuilding the mosque, and making new friends.

Carter said those attending should pack a picnic meal and bring blankets or lawn chairs. Speakers lined up include Hina Qidwai, with the Islamic Society of Joplin; local Starbucks manager Sara Berry; and Rick Love, president of Peace Catalyst International.

Several area bands and performers are on the schedule, plus The Kominas, from New York City.

The Islamic Circle of North America, a Muslim relief organization that responded to the 2011 tornado in Joplin, has donated 500 backpacks filled with school supplies as a show of gratitude to Joplin residents for their support of the local Muslim community.

“We’ll have another meeting next Thursday, and then it’s go time,” Carter said of planning.

Celebration

MEMBERS OF THE ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF JOPLIN will celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, on Sunday at the Holiday Inn Convention Center.

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