In Lower Manhattan, 2 Mosques Have Firm Roots

August 13, 2010

Author: Anne Barnard

Source: The New York Times

The Masjid Manhattan occupies a narrow basement with bare pipes snaking along the ceiling. The congregants who filled up the mosque near City Hall on Thursday night were mainly men, from South Asia, West Africa and the United States, and a few women — who prayed behind a partition. The feast provided for breaking the Ramadan fast, spicy curry over rice, came in plastic takeout containers from a nearby restaurant. 

A few blocks away, at the Masjid al-Farah, the scene was somewhat different. Men and women sat together. The worshipers, devotees of the Sufi tradition of Islamic mysticism, came from an even wider array of countries and included a young man with multiple piercings and a shirt identifying him as an employee at Jivamukti Yoga. The mosque, in a two-story building sandwiched between two bars — the neon-lighted Tribeca Tavern and the nouvelle-brasserie-type Cercle Rouge — has a pristine, high-ceilinged, white-painted interior decorated with stained glass and Arabic calligraphy