The destruction follows earlier fires, including one on July 4, when someone threw a flaming object onto the mosque’s roof. If it was an attempt at arson, it wasn’t a very good one. There wasn’t much damage, though the miscreant managed to be captured in a security video, and the FBI offered a reward for information on the arson.
Oddly, despite the video evidence and reward, there was never an arrest. Muslims in Joplin probably weren’t surprised: When they opened their mosque and community center in 2007, their sign was torched. That crime, too, remains unsolved.
That’s a lot of open cases in a town as small as Joplin. I do not believe the arsonist acted alone, or in a vacuum. The perpetrator has bragged somewhere, in a bar, at work, at – yes! — church. And while Joplin residents would do well to hold a vigil and take up a collection to help their Muslim neighbors rebuild, the best thing would be to turn this yahoo in.