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When news broke that the Islamic Center of Joplin was burned down on Monday, I was heartsick. I’m a Joplin native, and I lived near the mosque. We’d had more than enough press coverage last summer when the May 22nd tornado, a pure act of nature, shook us to our core. But to land in the news again because a house of worship was attacked was too much.
The FBI is still investigating whether it was an intentional act of hatred. Only five weeks ago, on the 4th of July, an arsonist had attempted to destroy the building. That suspect has not been apprehended.
Regardless of the latest events, the Islamic Center plans to rebuild. They’ve received helped from neighbors:
• In only three days, the mosque was able to raise over $300,000 for rebuilding.
• Students from Ozark Christian College are hosting a rally in Landreth Park in Joplin on August 25 for an evening of unity.
• Restore Joplin, the group who printed t-shirts to raise funds following the tornado, has printed a “Restore Kindness” t-shirt to show support to their Islamic friends.
• St. Philip’s Episcopal Church opened their doors to host an interfaith iftar, where Muslims could break their Ramadan fast and then pray in a room the church provided.
So it seems that there’s still plenty of good in the world after all, and Joplin is still a community I’m proud to belong to.
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