Inside the Park51 Mosque

Last night, TIME was the first news organization invited to shoot video inside the Park51 Mosque in lower Manhattan. I began the evening with a visit with a group of Muslim students at an NYU event where they broke their fast and prayed the Isha prayer, the final of the five daily prayers in Islam.

After their iftar meal, I was invited to go inside the building where the Park51 Mosque group has been holding prayer services for at least several months. The former Burlington Coat Factory is two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center attacks, and if you haven’t heard about the controversy around plans to raze the building and construct an Islamic Community Center, then you haven’t been paying much attention to the news lately, have you?

The folks in the mosque were warm and welcoming, though there was the usual wariness about a camera pointing at people during prayer. Imagine what it would be like if someone were filming in your house of worship.

The first video we posted earlier today was edited quickly in order to connect it to a TIME story on Islamophobia, including some surprising poll data about Islam in America. This video features two young Muslims who attend prayer services at the mosque.

I’m working on a larger piece for Friday.

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