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Another Miracle in Joplin: $250,000 Raised to Replace Burned Mosque

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Sometime on the night of Aug. 2, the goal of $250,000 to rebuild the Joplin Islamic Society mosque, which was destroyed by a fire Monday morning, was met -- and the money keeps pouring in.

After a tornado that destroyed one-third of the city and left 161 people dead didn't keep Joplin down, it should have been expected that an act of hatred, as it appears the fire was, would not fare any better.

Again, the people of Joplin, people of all faiths, banded together to show the Islamic community its support, and people from all over the world, again of all faiths, led with their hearts and their pocketbooks once more, showing that the miracle of the human spirit, as our City Manager Mark Rohr termed it, is alive and well in Joplin.

Among those leading the battle to raise the quarter of a million that was needed to replace the mosque was one of my former students, Joplin High School junior Laela Zaidi, a blogger for Huffington Post's Teen page.

In interviews with CNN and Al Jazeera, Laela was the perfect representative for both her Islamic faith and the people of Joplin.

But this young lady, who lost her home and her school in the 2011 Joplin Tornado, did more than just tell her story on national and international television. Shortly after the news of the mosque's destruction became public, Laela used her skills at social networking to sound the drumbeat to rebuild the mosque and not allow hate and prejudice to reign.

It started on Reddit and continued with Facebook and the world community quickly showed that Laela's faith was not misplaced.

When the fire department was called to the Islamic Society of Joplin Mosque, tt was the third fire in four years at the mosque, which has also seen its sign frequently vandalized. Members of the mosque have become accustomed, according to news accounts, to hearing slurs tossed at them as they headed toward their place of worship, a place, it should be added, which was a center for helping those who lost their homes in the tornado.

The Islamic Society of Joplin Mosque will stand again in the near future, another symbol of the spirit that has kept this city together.

Sadly, there will still remain those ignorant few whose hearts are so blackened with fear and distrust that they lash out at that which they do not understand.

Say a prayer for those people, whatever your place of worship may be. Those people are in Joplin, scurrying around in a cloak of darkness, but as we found out this week, they are not Joplin.

In this city, where so many horrendous things have happened, the spirit of hope is alive and well.