Prayers at Masjid Manhattan

While the nation has been focused on a proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero, a mosque has been functioning just four blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks with rumored plans to build even closer to the spot that once housed the World Trade Center.

The mosque, the Masjid Manhattan, recently boasted of plans to construct a “House of Allah” next to the World Trade Center, exclaiming on its website, “Help us raise the flag of ‘LA ILLAHA ILLA ALLAH’ in downtown Manhattan!”

The Masjid Manhattan has been holding classes at 20 Warren Street, four blocks from Ground Zero. The mosque also holds prayer services several times a day at a cramped location at 384 Broadway, eleven blocks from the former World Trade Center site.

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The mosque reportedly has raised about $8.5 million to begin construction of a permanent site after it lost its lease in 2008 at a different building on Warren Street, also about four blocks from Ground Zero.

In May, Fox quoted a source close stating he believed the Masjid Manhattan is considering a five-story building on 23 Park Place, closer to Ground Zero than the 13-story Islamic center the controversial Cordoba Initiative is considering.

WND phone calls to the mosque seeking comment were not returned.

The Cordoba Initiative, led by Feisal Abdul Rauf, claims it is seeking to build an open cultural center with a prayer room, while Masjid Manhattan, already functioning near Ground Zero, is a conservative mosque that preaches strict Islamic law.

Prior to the article, Masjid Manhattan’s website touted plans to construct near Ground Zero.

The website boasted, “Build the ‘House of Allah’ next to the World Trade Center! Help us raise the flag of ‘LA ILLAHA ILLA ALLAH’ in downtown Manhattan!”

That section of the website has since been scrubbed. Now the site reads, “Help us build the House of Allah and He will build one for you in Jannah.”

Jannah is Islamic paradise.

Masjid Manhattan preaches strict Islamic law, or Shariah. Its website hosts a Shariah question-and-answer session about such issues as whether Muslims are permitted to touch dogs, purchase life insurance or work with foreign currency. Another section explains why women must cover their heads according to the Quran.

Until it lost its lease, the mosque had quietly operated from Warren Street since 1970. Now, Masjid Manhattan utilizes a temporary location on Warren Street for Islamic classes, while prayer services are held several blocks north in a small basement location.

The temporary Masjid Manhattan prayer site it so tiny, the mosque website asks worshipers to use the bathroom before arriving.

“Bathroom access is limited. Please make wudu before coming to the Masjid.”

Wudu is the Islamic act of washing parts of the body in preparation for prayer.

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