Community members and churches look to help Muslim community after suspicious fire at Islamic Center

Suspect photo released in suspicious fire

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Churches and community members are reaching out to help the Muslim community after a suspicious fire at the Islamic Center.

“Your Muslim neighbors here in Cape Girardeau are the best neighbors you could have,” said Edie Bird, Reverend at Christ Episcopal Church

Reverend Bird said now is the time to show support for the Muslim community.

“That was a horrible fire. It was a miracle that nobody was hurt," she said.

Bird put a sign outside of her church doors, letting the community know, no matter what faith, her church is here.

“When you go through a traumatic thing like that to just have people continually let you know, out loud and in writing, that they want you here and that you’re safe with them,” she said.

Bird said there may be many different religions, but they all serve the same purpose.

“We all believe that we should put ourselves in service to one another to humanity and to the common good,” she said.

The National Communications Director for The Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ibrahim Hooper, said the outpouring of support helps keep the Muslim community going.

“I think that it just shows in times of crisis people will work together and come together, but you know we just hope ultimately we can determine what the cause and the motive of this fire was,” Hooper said.

He said while the motive is still unclear, it’s not unusual to see incidents like this during Muslim holidays.

“As Muslims are heightening their activity, spiritual activity for Ramadan, sometimes we see an uptick in hate incidents as well,” Hooper said.

Bird said once people can start gathering, her doors are open for the Muslim community to use.

“Whatever we can do in the community to help and to build stronger networks of support,” she said.

Leaders at the Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau have set up a gofundme to help cover the cost of damages.

The fundraising pages said it will take around $1 million to repair the damages.

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