Muslim business leader: 'This has hand of the divine written over it'
A new Islamic mosque will open its doors just steps from Ground Zero where Muslim terrorists murdered 2,751 people in the name of Allah on Sept. 11, 2001 – and its leading imam, who conducts sensitivity training sessions for the FBI, has reportedly blamed Christians for starting mass attacks on civilians.
The five-story building at Park Place, just two blocks north of the former World Trade Center site, was the site of a Burlington Coat Factory.
But a plane's landing-gear assembly crashed through the roof on the day 19 Muslim terrorists hijacked the airliners and flew them into the Twin Towers in 2001.
Now Muslim worshippers currently occupy the building, and they plan to turn it into a major Islamic cultural center.
"The men and women stand up, raise their hands on either side of their head, murmur 'Allahu akhbar,' bow and kneel again," reports Spiegel Online.
"Only in New York City is this possible," Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, or ASMA, told the magazine. Khan is the wife of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, founder of ASMA.
They have leased the new prayer space as an overflow building for another mosque, Masjid al-Farah, at 245 West Broadway in TriBeCa, where Rauf is the spiritual leader.
The building – vacant since that fateful day when time stood still as millions of Americans grieved the loss of loved ones, friends, family members, co-workers and strangers – was purchased in July by real-estate company Soho Properties, a business run by Muslims. Rauf was an investor in that transaction.
Just down the street, the Museum of Jewish Heritage honors victims of the Holocaust, and St. Peter's Church, New York's oldest Catholic house of worship, is located around the corner.
Rauf has announced his plans to turn the building into a complete Islamic cultural center, with a mosque, a museum, "merchandising options," and room for seminars to reconcile religions, "to counteract the backlash against Muslims in general, " Speigel reports. The project may cost as much as $150 million.
Rauf told the New York Times purchasing the building "where a piece of the wreckage fell sends the opposite statement to what happened on 9/11."
"It was almost obvious that something like this had to arise from the ashes of 9/11," Khan told Spiegel. "In some way, this has the hand of the divine written over it. It's almost as if God wanted to be involved."
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