Prayer Time at the Ground Zero Mosque

By El Marco

Just Another Monument to the Triumph of Islam

New York City, Saturday, June 5, 2010, – by El Marco

I arrived early at the Islamic Center of New York. I came to the city to photograph the rally of Stop Islamization of America (SOIA) on Sunday, June 6th, which is dedicated to stopping the construction of a mega-mosque 600 feet from the gaping hole which was the World Trade Center. First, I visited the Islamic Center Mosque on 96th Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, miles from ground zero. What is significant about this 1980s mosque is that it was created by the father of the man who is spearheading the Ground Zero mosque project.

Doctor Mohammed Abdul Rauf (1917-2004) was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was formed in Egypt in 1928 and has over 70 branches including Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah. The Muslim Brotherhood is classified as a terrorist organization and banned in Egypt as well as the United States.

All is quiet at this site with the main Friday prayers not set to begin until 1:00pm. So, I headed down to Ground Zero. I have not been there since September 11th, 2006.

What I found was heartening. After years of squabbling and delays, construction is finally underway on the vast One World Trade Center Plaza and tower. Looking from the West side of ground zero, I focused on St. Paul’s church, which can be seen nestled amongst the trees of the ancient graveyard. It is the oldest continuously occupied building in New York City and it remained undamaged as the Twin Towers collapsed just feet from the graveyard’s wrought iron gate. General George Washington attended this church during the Revolutionary War, and later, when he was sworn in as President, New York being America’s capital at the time.

The base of the new One World Trade Center tower can be seen here on the left. It is also known as the Freedom Tower. St. Paul’s can be seen in the background.

I walked to the south side of “the pit,” and visited FDNY Ladder 10. The firehouse was directly across the street from the Twin Towers and was badly battered by debris when they were knocked down. They lost seven of their crew that day. My conversation with their dispatcher was cut short by an alarm, and the scene shifted into high gear.

Both engines were out in little more than a minute.

Next I went looking for 45 Park Place, the address of the proposed 13 story mosque and Islamic center.

Amazingly, it’s right beside a long established saloon the Dakota Roadhouse. This was an odd place to choose for a mosque. The only criterion I could see for this choice of location was proximity to Ground Zero. With the recession, there is plenty of cut-rate real estate in the city, but none so close to Ground Zero. The lady tending bar in The Dakota said she knew little about the activities behind the Greco-Roman columns, but she did say that 9/11 victims’ family members come in often, asking the same questions as I. The three balloons tied to the rail were printed with the words, “Stand with Israel.”

Having arrived much too early for Friday prayer, I had time to explore. Across the street, I met Mamoud, who is from Bangladesh.

He has been in the United States for 13 years and has worked all those years in this rustic news kiosk. On 9/11 his partner, who has since died, was working and had to flee as part of the landing gear of one of the crashed planes passed over the kiosk and smashed through the roof of the Burlington Coat Factory. We had a long conversation about Bangladesh’s problems, and how so many poor families have a member sending money from the West. He asked about immigration laws in Canada. He reminded me of my Muslim friends and business associates in Indonesia when he told me he had to leave and attend Friday prayers in the mosque. That also reminded me that I should get back to taking pictures.

Worshippers were arriving for Friday prayer.

Street vendors from many countries parked their inventory.

I noticed men performing ablutions by the curb.

From gallon jugs they washed their feet, faces, and nostrils, as is commanded by Sharia law. Over the next half hour, hundreds of men entered the mosque, where there is ongoing construction inside.

I only saw five women enter, and they were required to use a side entrance.

After a few latecomers scurried into the building, I knew Friday prayers had begun.

I went around the corner and photographed these angels, which I had first noticed in November 2001. They’re on front of the Federal Building exactly adjacent to Ground Zero. Their art deco design suggests that the building was built between the first and second World Wars. They are just above the heads of pedestrians and are very large. They were coated with soot and blood and bone fragments on 9/11 and the debris was many feet thick on the ground in this area.

Bret Stevens wrote in the WSJ:

Opponents … argue that building the center so close to Ground Zero is an insult to the memory of the victims of 9/11. Germany has spent six decades in conspicuous and mainly sincere atonement for Nazi crimes. But it surely has no plans to showcase the tolerant society it has become by building a cultural center down the road from Auschwitz. Japan is no doubt equally disinclined to finance a Shinto shrine in the vicinity of the Pearl Harbor memorial.

The SIOA website states:

People need to know history in order to understand Islam and what they are really out to achieve. At its height, the Islamic Empire covered more of the earth than the Roman Empire. The Ottoman Empire ended in 1924 and the Muslim Brotherhood came about only four years later. This is no coincidence; it was established to bring back the world domination that Islam once had. Aside from Islam conquering a huge part of the world, Islam also conquered most of Spain in the year 711 from Tariq ibn Zayid’s invasion and held it through 1248; it controlled parts of Spain until its full liberation in 1492. Spain was renamed Andalusia. So why is this of importance?

The name of the organization planning the mosque is the “Cordoba Initiative,” and this name itself is a full affront to Americans. Cordoba was the seat of the Islamic Caliphate that ruled Spain and the name is often used today by Islamic militants when recalling the glory of the Islamic Empire from the years when they occupied Spain.

The great mosque of Cordoba is built over Visigothic Spain’s grandest Cathedral. Resistnet explains:

As a manifestation of Islamic domination and expansionism, mosques have frequently been placed on the sites of the holy places of other religions. The Al-Aqsa Mosque, built on top of the Temple of the Jewish people, which is located in Jerusalem, is the most famous example. Many famous churches have been turned into mosques, including the Aya Sofya Mosque in Istanbul, which until the Islamic conquest of Constantinople of 1453 was the grandest church in Christendom. The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus was, before the Islamic conquest, the Church of St. John the Baptist. Historian Sita Ram Goel has estimated that over two thousand mosques in India were built on the sites of Hindu temples.

This photograph shows the wailing wall and the Dome of the rock Mosque atop the site where the Jewish temple stood until the Romans destroyed it in AD 70. Often over the years, after Friday prayers, Muslims have rushed out to hurl large stones down upon the Jewish worshipers.

Bernard Lewis is the world’s leading scholar of Islamic history. Here is what he wrote about the Al-aqsa Mosque: “The choice is significant. Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Qur’an.  Even the name “Jerusalem” does not figure in early Muslim writings.

The site was the Temple Mount, the scene of major events in both Jewish and Christian sacred history. The actual spot was the rock on which, according to rabbinic tradition, Abraham had prepared to sacrifice his son, and on which in later times the Ark of the Temple had rested.

The polemical purpose of the shrine is reinforced by the choice of Qur’anic verses and other inscriptions that decorate the interior. One verse occurs again and again:  “God is one, without partner, without companion.”  The rejection of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is clear, and is made explicit in other inscriptions:

Praise be to God, who begets no son, and has no partner in [his] dominion: nor [needs] he any to protect him from humiliation: yes, magnify him for his greatness and glory!

Another repeated inscription is the famous Sura 112 in its entirety:  “he is God, one, eternal.  He does not beget, nor is he begotten, and he has no peer.”  Another quotation addresses an explicit warning to the recipients of previous revelation (Qur’an 4:171):

O people of the book!  Commit no excesses in your religion:  and say nothing of God but the truth. Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was indeed an apostle of God … Therefore believe in God and his apostles, and do not say “Three”.  Desist, and it will be better for you, for indeed God is one God, exalted above having a son…

Yet another inscription emphasizes the warning to the Jews and Christians of the error of their ways (Qur’an 3:18-19)

God bears witness that there is no God but he, and so too the angels, those who possess knowledge, and stand firm in justice. There is no God but he, the omnipotent, the omniscient. God’s religion is Islam … Let whoever disbelieves in the signs of God beware, for God is swift in reckoning.”

In this photograph we see Ground Zero ceremonies underway on Sept. 11 2006.

The flags of all the nations of those killed are on the ramp that family members only were allowed to descend that day. They prayed and laid flowers on a small pool of water (lower left). President George Bush and his wife, Laura, were also in attendance on that day, the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

The Cordoba Initiative plans to spend 100,000,000 dollars to finish the mega-mosque, which they will dedicate on September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack.

After prayers ended, hundreds of men from all over the moslem world left to resume their daily activities.

Andrew C. McCarthy who prosecuted the “blind sheik”, mastermind of the first terror attack on the World Trade Center, wrote in his authoritative new book, The Grand Jihad:

Just as the collapse has been a boon for the left, the ferocity and overreach of Muslim terrorists has been a dual boon for Islamism.  So atrocious has been the bloodbath wrought by Al Queda, its affiliates, and its imitators that it has enabled more methodical Muslim extremists to operate under the radar.  Repeated terror strikes, culminating in the death of nearly three thousand innocents and the surreal demolition of the seemingly impregnable Twin Towers, shocked Americans and their government into a myopic determination to prevent additional mass murder attacks.  In this climate of fear, the calculating but apparently non-violent Islamist compares favorably with the uncompromising, blood-soaked Islamist terrorist.  He is thus regarded as cause for hope– indeed, as a moderate– by government and opinion elites.  This, despite the fact that his agenda is essentially the same as the terrorist’s: Only their methods differ, and even those differences are shades of gray.

“In common parlance, someone is a “radical” Muslim only if he is a practitioner of jihadist terrorism, as if it were perfectly normal to want exactly the sharia state the terrorist wants as long as one refrains from terrorist methods in seeking it.  The U.S. government, as well as our states and municipalities, clings to this connotation.  At all levels– administrations of both political parties, intelligence agencies, law-enforcement, members of Congress, the federal bench, state and local authorities– officials would rather stick pins in their eyes than grapple with the incontrovertible nexus between Islamic doctrine and the savagery committed by Muslims throughout the world for decades.  We are lead to believe that the only real “radicals” are the terrorists.  Any other Muslim, no matter how supportive of terrorist goals, is deemed a “moderate” so long as he doesn’t seem, right this minute, to be plotting the next Armageddon.

This is sheer lunacy.  Of Islam’s approximately 1.4 billion adherents worldwide, there are, to estimate very modestly, hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the United States, and tens of millions globally, who desire the adoption of policies sensible people would find quite radical.  The moderate masquerade enables them to make common cause with the radical Left in one big, “progressive” campaign for “social justice.” ”  – Andrew C. McCarthy

“By denominating the challenge “Islamism,” we reserve the mantel of islam for the millions who reject intolerance.  Of course we must do so with our eyes open.  We must recognize that the Islamists are faithful Muslims, that they are hostile to our civilization, and that they may substantially outnumber our potential allies in the umma.  Our primary objectives must be to defeat militant Islamists who attack us at home and abroad, and to shield ourselves from other Islamists who seek to undermine our freedoms in more sophisticated ways.  We should reserve the designation “Islam” in the hope that tolerant voices can redeem it, but our defense must never be hostage to that hope, which may, after all, be futile.

Defending ourselves will require flushing out the Islamists: identifying them and imposing on them the burden of defending their totalitarian ideology against the positive case for liberty and human reason.  Doing so will undeniably burden true moderate Muslims as well:  Give the prevalence of anti-Constitutional beliefs in Islam, foreign Muslims should not be permitted to reside in America unless they can demonstrate their acceptance of American constitutional principles.  But those who satisfy this burden should be welcomed, encouraged, and given the space necessary to seek reform.” – Andrew C. McCarthy

Very simply, the purpose of jihad is not violence for its own sake.  It is to pave the way for the imposition of sharia, the Muslim legal code and the necessary precondition for erecting an Islamic state and society.  That is a peril we simply don’t want to deal with.  Doing so would require confronting the brute fact that such a state wold be antithetical to American democracy.  If we wanted to safeguard American democracy.  If we wanted to safeguard American democracy and the principles–the individual liberties– it stands for, we would need to fight not only terrorists but Islamists.  We would need to reject not only terrorists but Islamists.  We would need to reject not only savagery but sharia.  For that, we appear to have no stomach.

Thus, we avert our eyes from our enemies’ goal and fail to recognize both who our enemies are and why the accommodations they demand, some of which seems harmless enough on the surface, must be opposed. – Andrew C. McCarthy

Most Americans who have some passing acquaintance with the term “Salafist” assume it is a label for terrorists.  Therefore, in the public mind, Salafists (and Wahhabists) are the real bad guys, to be sharply distinguished from the ubiquitous Muslim “moderates”– who are “moderate” because they allegedly “reject terrorism,” not because their views are actually benign.

This is a hopelessly ill-conceived way of looking at the world, but leftists– who dominate policy circles, the academy, and the media– are delighted to have us see it that way.  With Americans in the dark, Islamists freely pass themselves off as moderates.  That makes it politically palatable for the left to collaborate with them in undermining the American establishment.  There’s no reason, however, why the rest of us should abide an arrangement, steeped in fiction, that progressively (pardon the pun) eroding our liberty and security. – Andrew C. McCarthy

To be clear:  Salafism, the original inspiration of the Muslim Brotherhood, is the guiding ideology of all Islamists, the Islamist terrorists as well as those Islamists who purport to reject terrorism.  Both types of Islamists want the same thing, the Islamization of society.  Both reject Western rationalism and the Christian unity of faith and reason.  Both favor sharia determinism.  Both support the development of fundamentalist Muslim enclaves and the ultimate supplanting of American constitutional democracy by Islamic law.  Non-terrorist Islamists want to overthrow the United States government every bit as much as the terrorists do.  They are not moderates.  Their difference with the terrorists are over means and methods, not goals. – Andrew C. McCarthy

Reporters from Italy and France wrap covered this Fridays prayers also. There was no other media presence. I left and walked around the corner to Ground Zero.

I headed east towards Saint Pauls Church thinking about how the Mega-mosque will be built to 12 stories and will dwarf the old church.

I entered the graveyard where revolutionary war heros are buried. Tourists and New Yorkers cooled off in the shade and toured the church. The Freedom Tower rises from the carnage across the street. I saw a young woman weeping as she walked by.