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Q&A: World Trade Center had small mosque

Trade Center had small mosque

Recently, Keith Olbermann of MSNBC mentioned that before 9/11 the restaurant at the top of one of the World Trade Center towers had a small mosque for employees' use. If I heard correctly and that is true, why hasn't that been widely publicized? Would that not help to put to rest the controversy surrounding the new building proposed not in "ground zero" but in the vicinity?

The answer to your first question is that there was, indeed, a small mosque in the World Trade Center, on the 17th floor of the south tower.

The New York Times reported the story on Sept. 10, in an article headlined "Muslims and Islam were part of twin towers' life."

According to the Times, no one is sure who started the prayer room, or when, but it was a part of everyday life for workers in the building, and widely used.

The Associated Press reported on Aug. 18 that the site of the proposed cultural center and mosque currently houses a place of worship for Muslims. Another place of Muslim worship, the Manhattan Mosque, stands five blocks from the northeast corner of the World Trade Center site.

As for your other question, emotions are running so high on the issue that it's questionable if any facts exist that could put this controversy to rest.

Calculating poverty levels

Recent news items report a single individual with an annual income of $10,956 or less is living in poverty, and a family of four with an annual income of $21,954 or less is living in poverty. Who determines annual poverty level incomes and how are they derived?

The federal government, of course.

Poverty thresholds are determined annually by the Census Bureau, though the Social Security Administration developed the thresholds. The Department of Health and Human Services also issues poverty guidelines every year.

Earlier this month, the Census Bureau reported that 43.6 million Americans lived in poverty, the highest number in 51 years. The official poverty rate was 14.3 percent, the highest percentage since 1994.

The Census Bureau bases the numbers on an official calculation that includes only cash income before tax deductions. It does not include accumulated wealth, such as savings, investments or home ownership, or federal aid such as food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, public housing or fringe benefits paid by employers.

And next year the number could rise, because the formula will be changed to consider rising health care costs, transportation and child care.

This year's 88-page report can be read on the Web by going to

Q&A: World Trade Center had small mosque 09/26/10 [Last modified: Sunday, September 26, 2010 4:30am]
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