The Mosque at Ground Zero

No – not the planned Islamic Community Centre in Park Place – but the prayer room on the 51st floor of World Trade Center’s South Tower, where some of the building’s Muslims used to gather to pray:

“We weren’t aliens,” Mr. Abdus-Salaam, 60, said in a telephone interview from Florida, where he moved in retirement. “We had a foothold there. You’d walk into the elevator in the morning and say, ‘Salaam aleikum,’ to one construction worker and five more guys in suits would answer, ‘Aleikum salaam.’ ”

One of those men in suits could have been Zafar Sareshwala, a financial executive for the Parsoli Corporation, who went to the prayer room while on business trips from his London office. He was introduced to it, he recently recalled, by a Manhattan investment banker who happened to be Jewish.

“It was so freeing and so calm,” Mr. Sareshwala, 47, said in a phone conversation from Mumbai, where he is now based. “It had the feel of a real mosque. And the best part is that you are in the epicenter of capitalism — New York City, the World Trade Center — and you had this island of spiritualism. I don’t think you could have that combination anywhere in the world.”

There was a more makeshift facility at the top of the North Tower – a stairwell, where the Muslim staff of Windows on the World would “lay a tablecloth atop the concrete landing in the stairwell and flatten cardboard boxes from food deliveries to serve as prayer mats.”

Update: Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich (with his third wife, Callista – seemingly the first adult woman to be synthesized in a test tube) has released a new feature film, hailing “the end of times… the final struggle” against Islam.

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Newt, who plans to run for President, claims that “America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization.” Happy times.