The Islamic Center of Joplin in southwest Missouri burned to the ground in a second fire that hit the center more than a month after the initial incident. FBI officials declared the center "sustained a total loss".
The fire was reported about 3:30 a.m. Monday, the Jasper County Sheriff's Office said. No injuries were reported.
View slideshow: Joplin Islamic Center
The FBI, in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department, and the Missouri Department of Fire Safety are currently investigating and providing significant resources to determine the cause of the fire.
“We are currently in the preliminary stages of this investigation and are awaiting a determination as to the cause of this fire," FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Kaste said. "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.”
Imam Lahmuddin holds his hands over his face after a fire destroyed the Islamic Society of Joplin, Mo., mosque, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012, in Joplin, Mo. The fire was the second fire to hit the Islamic center in little more than a month.
Photo credit: AP Photo/The Joplin Globe, T. Rob Brown
Video: Raw Video: Joplin, Mo. Mosque Razed in Fire
This is not the first time the mosque has dealt with this matter. A July 4 incident at the center was determined to be arson and the FBI released a video and photo of the suspect with a $15,000 reward for any information leading to his arrest and indictment.