The Mosque in the World Trade Center

As Pamela Geller gloatingly prepares to host her hate rally against the Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero, shrieking that it defiles the memory of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, here’s a must-read article at the New York Times on a piece of history it might be good to remember: Muslim Prayer Room Was Part of Life at Twin Towers.

Over the next few days, noticing some fellow Muslims on the job, Mr. Abdus-Salaam voiced an equally essential question: “So where do you pray at?” And so he learned about the Muslim prayer room on the 17th floor of the south tower.

He went there regularly in the months to come, first doing the ablution known as wudu in a washroom fitted for cleansing hands, face and feet, and then facing toward Mecca to intone the salat prayer.

On any given day, Mr. Abdus-Salaam’s companions in the prayer room might include financial analysts, carpenters, receptionists, secretaries and ironworkers. There were American natives, immigrants who had earned citizenship, visitors conducting international business — the whole Muslim spectrum of nationality and race.

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. 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.

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Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
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