Amidst all the shouting about an Islamic mosque near Ground Zero, Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, said it was never her intention to build a mosque within footsteps of New York City’s most hallowed ground.
“We did a site search and this was a site that was abandoned for ten years,” said Khan. “That’s New York City real estate for you.”
Khan plans to build Cordoba House — a 13-story Islamic cultural center and mosque — at the former Burlington Coat Factory site at 25 Park Place in Lower Manhattan.
One block away, at 20 Warren Street, is another mosque: Masjid Manhattan has been open for daily prayer since 1970. On Fridays, the turnout is so large they must move to a nearby basement.
The two mosques are not connected, but Masjid Manhattan is also looking for a new home. On their website, they say they want to “build the house of Allah next to the World Trade Center.”
Khan said she plans to present a “collaboration” with those planning the Ground Zero memorial.
“If the memorial committee thinks this would be an asset, we would welcome it. We want to be good neighbors and want to create a deeper understanding.”