After Sikh killings, Mosque torched in US
Joplin (USA), Aug 7: Day after killing of six Sikhs at a Gurduwara in US, a Mosque in Joplin, Missouri, was burned to the ground early Monday, just over a month after an attempted arson at the Islamic center, officials said.
Authorities are investigating the cause of the latest fire. The Mosque's security cameras were destroyed in the blaze, according to Sharon Rhine of the Jasper County Sheriff's Office.
"This incident should not stop us from worshiping our God," one member of the Islamic Society of Joplin told CNN affiliate KYTV. "We are going to find a place probably to continue our service to God."
Kimberly Kester, another member, said the blaze was so intense that the building's bricks were still sizzling hours after the fire.
Carl Junction Fire Chief Bill Dunn called it a "complete loss."
Though investigators haven't determined the cause, Kester suspects it to be another incident of arson.
"I think this act of hate will bring us together," she told CNN iReport.
The FBI is already investigating a fire that scorched the roof of the building on July 4 and has offered a $15,000 reward in conjunction with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The bureau has released surveillance video and a photograph of a man caught on surveillance cameras throwing some sort of incendiary device onto the building in that incident.
Federal agents have begun an investigation into the new blaze, "and we are basically waiting for a determination to be made on the cause," FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton told CNN.
"If it is determined that the fire was deliberately set or intentionally set, then we will investigate it to the full extent possible," Patton said.
The attack took place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends August 18.
Kester said the Mosque was a target of other acts of vandalism. In September of 2008, a sign at the Mosque was set on fire and was also determined to be arson, according to CNN affiliate KODE.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called for increased police protection at other places of worship in the wake of the fire and is offering a $10,000 reward for information on the latest incident.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 7 Aug 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 7 Aug 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 8 Aug 2012 00:00:00 IST
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