Joplin mosque's sign set ablaze

Saturday, September 27, 2008 | 9:35 p.m. CDT; updated 9:40 p.m. CDT, Saturday, September 27, 2008

JOPLIN — The FBI is investigating the burning of a mosque's sign in Joplin as a potential hate crime.

The sign for the Islamic Society of Joplin was set aflame early Thursday morning. Fire investigators say there's no doubt the fire was deliberately set.

The Jasper County Sheriff's Department initially investigated the arson but the FBI has taken over.

Navid Zaidi, the society's treasurer, said the mosque hasn't had much trouble since it opened in February 2007 other than the occasional shouted comments from passing drivers.

But he said he thinks the burning was a hate crime.

Zaidi said the mosque put up the sign two months ago to better fit in the community. It reads "Islamic Society of Joplin" in both English and Arabic.

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