For the residents of Joplin, Missouri, the Islamic Center of Joplin was more than just a mosque—it acted as a relief center for victims during last year's horrific tornado. So when organizers threw a rally Saturday night to show support for the mosque, which burned down three weeks ago, and raise funds to rebuild, hundreds showed up. "It's amazing," one organizer, a college student, tells Reuters. "People who are of completely different cultures and beliefs are here having a conversation with each other, which is awesome."
The fire that destroyed the mosque—the second fire to hit it this summer, after a smaller blaze July 4—is still being investigated, but members of the local Islamic community think it was a hate crime. It occurred the morning after six Sikhs were shot and killed by a white supremacist near Milwaukee. So far, around $406,000 has been raised for the mosque's rebuilding, more than the $250,000 goal. "There are really no words we can use to convey how appreciative we are and how much this means to us," says a rep for the center. "Everyone is coming together to be a stronger community."