The Common Good

Members of burned Missouri mosque look to an uncertain future

Date: September 13, 2012

A little more than a month after the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque was destroyed by fire, the local Muslim community is moving forward with support from the interfaith community. But progress is slow.

For now, one mosque member has opened up his home for prayers and gatherings. There are about 40 families in the Muslim community, but not everyone comes for all the prayers. The most crowded time is Fridays, when about 30 or 40 people gather.

A group of religious leaders signed a full-page advertisement of support in The Joplin Globe, the local newspaper. Jill Michael, a pastor at South Joplin Christian Church, said many of the Christian leaders involved in the advertisement have divisive doctrinal differences, yet they came together for the Islamic community.

Some churches posted the words “love thy neighbor” on their signs. Sojourners, a national Christian social justice organization, threw in its support with an electronic billboard message: “Love your Muslim neighbors.”