—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
JAMAICA, New York (August 6, 2012) – The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) issued a press statement expressing deep concern over the burning down of a mosque in Joplin, MO early this morning.
The fire at the Islamic Society of Joplin was reported at around 3:30 AM Monday; the possible attack left the mosque completely destroyed. This incident comes after another arson attack at the same mosque just a few weeks ago on July 4th which was caught on surveillance cameras.
The Islamic Society of Joplin was used as ICNA Relief’s disaster headquarters for two months last year after a devastating tornado tore through the city and left thousands in need. ICNA Relief was also planning on distributing free school bags and school supplies at its Back to School Giveaway event at the same mosque.
“We are horrified by the attack on a community prayer area, and sympathize with the Joplin community as they deal with their loss,” said Dr. Zahid Bukhari, President of ICNA. “ICNA appeals to law enforcement agencies to treat this incident as a hate crime and prosecute the perpetrators behind the attack.
The loss of a prayer area is especially trying during the month of Ramadan, a time of heightened worship and community events. Families who frequent the mosque will no doubt feel a sense of fear and grief after losing their prayer area to this attack. We urge Joplin residents to stand by their Muslim neighbors in the coming days.
The increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric in recent months has created an atmosphere of suspicion in which Muslims and those perceived to be Muslims are at risk. These bigoted views spread by political leaders and media personalities have provided fuel for hate crimes including the shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin yesterday. We must stand together as people of conscience and condemn those who spread hate.”
ICNA Kansas City President Mansoor Ali will be leading a team to Joplin tomorrow to visit the mosque and assess the needs of the community. ICNA Relief has also offered to facilitate temporary prayer arrangements for the congregants of the mosque.