Original copy 8:48 a.m.
JOPLIN, Mo. -- Fire has destroyed the Islamic Mosque in Joplin. It's the second fire at the house of worship in the past month. Now, the FBI is investigating.
Firefighters were called to the mosque on Black Cat Rd. around 3:30 a.m. Monday. When crews arrived, the west side of the building was on fire, but it quickly spread, engulfing the mosque in flames.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, the ATF, the Jasper County Sheriff's Office and the Missouri Division of Fire Safety.
"We are currently in the preliminary stages of this investigation and are awaiting a determination as to the cause of this fire," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Kaste, in a statement Monday. "If this fire is determined to be deliberate in nature it will be investigated to the fullest extent possible. Any act of violence to a house of worship is taken very seriously by law enforcement and threatens the very core of the safety and security that our communities enjoy."
"ATF will coordinate our efforts and provide our expertise and resources to determine the origin and cause of this fire," said ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeff Fulton, in a statement. "The impact of this devastating fire is not just a loss of a building but a spiritual loss to the community."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever may have caused the fire. The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization is in touch with the FBI about the case.
The CAIR called for stepped-up police protection at Muslim institutions and other houses of worship nationwide after hearing about the Joplin fire and after yesterday's deadly shooting at a Sikh temple in Washington.
Blunt (R-Missouri) released a statement Monday afternoon saying, "I'm
incredibly saddened to hear about the fire that destroyed the
Another fire, which was deemed arson, was reported at the same building July 5. The fire damaged a small section of exterior wall of the building, and caused the shingles on the roof to melt together.
Authorities released surveillance video of that suspect (below), but no arrests have been made.
The FBI says it's working with other agencies involved to determine if the crimes are related.
Dr. Iftikhar Ali, president of Joplin Islamic Community, says it's upsetting to their entire community when a senseless act of violence like this takes place.
The Council of Churches of the Ozarks is accepting financial donations in support of the Islamic Community in Joplin. Donations by check, marked for the Joplin Islamic Community in the memo, can be made payable and sent to: Council of Churches, PO Box 3947, Springfield MO 65808-3947.