The First Islamic Prayer Room at Ground Zero

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For those who think the proposed Islamic community center near Ground Zero in New York is an affront to the memory of the nearly 3,000 people murdered on 9/11, this New York Times story might be illuminating. It seems employees and visitors used an Islamic prayer room in the South Tower of the World Trade Center for years prior to the terrorist attacks. An excerpt from the article:

“Leaping down the stairs on Sept. 11, 2001, when he had been installing ceiling speakers for a reinsurance company on the 49th floor, Mr. Abdus-Salaam had a brief, panicked thought. He didn’t see any of the Muslims he recognized from the prayer room. Where were they? Had they managed to evacuate?

He staggered out to the gathering place at Broadway and Vesey. From that corner, he watched the north tower collapse, to be followed soon by the south one. Somewhere in the smoking, burning mountain of rubble lay whatever remained of the prayer room, and also of some of the Muslims who had used it.

Given the vitriolic opposition now to the proposal to build a Muslim community center two blocks from ground zero, one might say something else has been destroyed: the realization that Muslim people and the Muslim religion were part of the life of the World Trade Center.”

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 were a tragedy that affected Americans and others of different faiths, including Muslims. Moreover, those attacks were perpetrated by murderous extremists who no more represented all Muslims than fundamentalists who bomb abortion clinics and gay bars in America have represented all Christians.

We have no doubt that there are Americans, including some families of those killed in the 9/11 attacks, who are genuinely troubled by the presence of an Islamic community center near Ground Zero. But we wonder how many know that Muslims, some of whom prayed each day in an Islamic prayer room in one of the Towers, were also victims on that terrible morning. Sadly, in too many cases we are seeing politicians, pressure groups and media “commentators” once again exploit a tragedy and use faith to divide Americans for their own personal gain.

5 Responses to “The First Islamic Prayer Room at Ground Zero”

  1. Gordon Fowkes Says:

    The fact that Abdus-Salaam didn`t see his Islamic friends is that he was likely part of the ten percent that never gets the word. That`s to be expected in a complex plot involving the Saudi Royal Family in cahoots with the CIA, the Oil Companies, as well as the CIA front called Al Qaeda resulting in the controlled demolition of the twin towers which dazzled the two airliners coopted by Jihad Air who got to close to the explosion killing 15 innocent tourists.

  2. Charles Says:

    Well, they probably didn’t call it the World Trade Center for nothing. I think any normal person would have expected a patchwork cultural quilt in that building. In a very real sense, the 9/11 attacks were not so much of an attack on the United States as they were an attack on the whole world.

    Shortly after the attacks, we learned that the WTC was hit because it was symbolic of the diffusion of evil American cultural influence to other parts of the world and peoples that did not want it.

    Our own Christian fundamentalists do not seem to realize that the Islamists are not attacking us for diffusing cell phones, computers, and automobiles. We are being attacked because some greasy little man from Fayetteville, Arkansas, gets off an airplane in Saudi Arabia hellbent on opening the first liquor store In Riyadh. Some guy from Nashville gets off an airplane hellbent on opening the first pig farm and whole hog country sausage packing plant in Yemen. Skinflick Studios gets off a plane hellbent on opening the first porn movie studio in Damascus and starts recruiting local Arab girls to star. There is just a wave of that sort of offensive crap trying to diffuse its way in there from the west, and then the troops go in to protect “American interests” in the Middle East. Then we are attacked because a foreign army of infidels are camped out on Islamic land. How would you like it if 20,000 armed Arab soldiers were camped out in Cullman, Alabama.

    I think a whole lot of our problems in the Middle East would be fixed if American Christian fundamentalists would just turn all of their wrath on the U.S. government and private corporations—and demand that they quit doing provocative things in the Middle East—things that even their own conservative Christian faith defines as sinful abominations in this country. You oppose it here. Why not join with the Arabs and voice your opposition to it over there as well? You might save 1000s of American lives.

  3. Beverly Kurtin Says:

    Gordon, it would have taken MONTHS and a lot of man power to wire the towers to collapse in a “controlled demolition.” It has been proven that the of such a controlled demolition is part of the conspiracy theories that surround the FACTS: Radical, mentally instable Arabs flew large aircraft into the towers to cause them to collapse. The physics that are involved are incredible, but once steel melts in a structure like the towers, the structures fail and down they go. I seriously doubt that the homicidal sickos expected the towers to fall the way they did. So, Gordo, please stop with the conspiracy garbage and come on down to earth with the rest of us.

    And while I’m thinking about it, it drives me nuts when they call homicide bombers suicide bombers. Suicide affects just the individual who wishes to die, not to kill as many people as possible. According to the Koran, anyone who kills themselves or others goes to hell. I’m not certain in which of the sidras that is found, but it’s in there. My copy of the Koran is over 20,000 pages long (Kindle edition) so I don’t feel like spending the rest of the night searching for it, besides, I just took a sleeping pill.

    The more I read in the Koran, the more I see that the people who do things like, say, the Taliban in the way they treat women, it is completely against the Koran! So many off the things that the Koran say are being deliberately ignored by those who bring shame upon Islam. With over a billion adherents, Islam has billions of followers who do not do what the mentally unstable radicals do. Imans have denounced the kind of violence that a minority of Imans preach and teach. It is a shame.

    But is it any different, really, to the way that many Christians (the funny-mentalists) choose to ignore the writings in their books and do things that are contrary to the Biblical teachings? Take the Jehovah’s Witnesses for example. Most of them are fine, upstanding members of society UNTIL it comes time to go to the hospital. I used to work at a large country hospital while finishing my doctoral dissertation. Whenever we had a JW come into L&D (labor and delivery) and the possibility of bleeding was present, I’d have to call a judge to get a court order to force a transfusion if necessary. Why do they do that? Because the children of Israel were told, in Leviticus 17, not to eat blood. EAT, get it? Getting a transfusion is NOT eating, but some “leader” decided it was and there has been problems ever since.

    I could say the same for just about every religion in the world, so I’m not picking on any particular religion. We’re just human, I guess, but we don’t have to be like the BIGOTS who are slithering around screaming about the Community Center near the site where the towers used to stand.

    On Sunday, I will reprint an E-Mail I received from Michael Moore. Regardless of whether you like or hate him, I think you’ll find his comments worthy of contemplating.

    This is a small world and as far as I know we’re the only country that has total freedom of and from religion. The symbol off this island of freedom is the stars and strips. Let’s think about the freedoms we have every time we see that most beautiful flag in the world.

  4. Charles Says:

    Get a load of this John F. Kennedy speech:

    http://mainstreambaptist.blogspot.com/

  5. Eric Says:

    Beverly,

    I believe George was being facetious…

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