The cause of a fire that destroyed the only Islamic place of worship in the area remains undetermined as of Thursday, according to the FBI.
In the meantime, a group committed to holding a rally in Joplin in response to the Aug. 6 destruction of the Islamic Society of Joplin’s mosque said it has the money and the event will go forward on Aug. 25 in Landreth Park.
On Thursday, the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and the Missouri Division of Fire Safety’s Office of the State Fire Marshal all said they had completed their “on-scene investigation,” at the mosque at 1302 S. Black Cat Road, but had not been able to determine a cause of the fire.
“Investigators completed several days of an extensive scene examination,” the FBI said in a written release. “The scene investigation involved reconstructing the scene, conducting numerous interviews and sifting through debris in an attempt to locate evidence related to the incident. At this time, the official cause of the fire is ‘undetermined.’
“A finding of undetermined does not mean that a fire investigation is closed. If additional information is developed, this finding can be changed. Investigators are actively following all leads and request the public to report any information about the fire. The factors resulting in the finding of undetermined are not being released due to the ongoing investigation”
The FBI said the investigation continues into the Aug. 6 fire and the July 4 attempted arson in which a man throwing a burning object on the roof of the mosque was caught in the act on a security camera video.
A reward of $15,000 is being offered for information about the July 4 incident.
As for the rally, Ashley Carter, a student at Ozark Christian College and organizer of the Aug. 25 rally, said the event is free.
She said participants will share a meal, several bands will play and there will be opportunities to “demonstrate support for our community, including writing words of love and encouragement on a banner for the Islamic Society, creating art with Art Feeds, donating to the Islamic Society or simply making a few new friends.
“To show gratitude to the Joplin community for their outpouring of love, the Islamic Circle of North America has donated 500 backpacks filled with school supplies,” organizers said in a written release. “These will be handed out at ‘Neighbors.’”