Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 5, 2012

FBI to investigate suspicious fire at Joplin mosque

JOPLIN, Mo. — An early-morning fire at the Islamic Society of Joplin’s mosque is expected to attract FBI investigators.

Damage was limited to a small area of the building's roof but could have been much worse if a passer-by hadn't noticed the fire and called authorities.

The fire did not burn through the roof, said Bill Dunn, the Carl Junction fire chief.

“If no one had seen it, I am almost certain the fire would have gone ahead and burned,” he said.

Police are reviewing surveillance tapes, but they declined comment on whether anying suspicious was noticed.

Dunn said that after the fire was out, he and others took a look at the roof.

“We noticed a bunch of what looked like paper up there,” he said. “Somebody lit them and threw them up there.”

Members said they had been at the mosque until midnight enjoying Independence Day festivities.

“All the credit goes to the good Samaritan who called the fire department,” said Asadullah Ahmed, a member of the mosque. “We are very fortunate.”

Although the fire is being treated as suspicious, Iftikhar Ali, president of the Islamic Society of Joplin, was not discouraged.

“There are good and bad people everywhere,” Ali said. “There’s still no change in our feelings. Still America. We enjoy life here.”

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Details for this story were provided by The Joplin (Mo.) Globe.

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