CNN PRODUCER NOTE The Carl Junction Fire Department received a call at 3:32 Monday morning about the fire at a Joplin, Missouri, mosque and Islamic center, according to fire chief Bill Dunn. Due to the extent of the fire, responders were unable to save the building. ‘It was a complete loss,’ he said. Dunn says the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but says the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is currently investigating the situation. He also added that the mosque was targeted by an arsonist on July 4.
iReporter and mosque member twinsmom46 tearfully visited the smouldering ruins of the building and shot these photos. 'This was a brick building, and it is amazing to see it completely gone,' twinsmom46 said. She said fire fighters were combing the scene for hot spots, trying to clear the area as members of the mosque gathered to watch the destruction. 'I couldn’t believe it, I was shocked, and this is Ramadan,' she said, referencing the the Muslim holy month of fasting and prayer.
She said the mosque has suffered several acts of violence and vandalism throughout the years, and the threats have been getting increasingly more violent. 'I think person who did this is a person who is afraid of difference, and is afraid of different minorities,' she says. But she says that in Joplin she has never faced discrimination for being a Muslim. She also adds that the community's support after the fire has lifted her spirits.
'I think this act of hate will bring us together,' she said. 'I just wish people will realize that although we are different, we can all be a part of something. Joplin survived such a devastating storm and we came together. We can all come together and build a great community once again.'
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer