by Roger McKinney
from Joplin Globe
JOPLIN, Mo. — Some local Christians and others who attended an event Saturday at the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque said they are saddened and dismayed about the fire that destroyed the mosque Monday morning.
The Rev. Frank Sierra, of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, called Saturday’s gathering “a great event.”
“Instead of labeling people, we get to see them as fellow human beings — children of God — and that breaks down a lot of walls,” he said.
All were unanimous about their support for members of the Muslim community in their time of hardship and their outrage over the burning of the mosque.
“This is a threat to a group of law-abiding citizens in our midst,” said Paul Teverow, with the United Hebrew Congregation, who was at Saturday’s gathering and was at the mosque to offer condolences Monday morning. “The people of Joplin should share the same sense of outrage.”
He said such incidents are something much deeper when a place of worship is destroyed.
“I just feel a lot sadder,” he said.
He said ties between the mosque and synagogue go back many years, and that the connection would continue.
“This strikes very close to us,” he said. “They’re our extended family.”
Jill Michel, pastor of South Joplin Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), echoed the sentiment.
“They’re our brothers and sisters,” she said. “These are caring and compassionate people who are making a difference in our community. Their grief must be ours. It just has to be. That’s what our faith tells us.”