It’s time for an update on the Flight 93 Memorial which I opposed for three+ years by participating in Alec Rawls’ many blogbursts raising awareness about the profoundly inappropriate design. I’m sorry to report that it still sucks after all these years.
Here’s a video he put together in 2008 to help people visualize the many Islamic symbols present in the design:
John Hinderaker revisited the controversy at Powerline:
Rawls and his colleagues have elaborate explanations of how the elements of the memorial constitute a tribute to triumphant Islam. They have taken out newspaper ads to rally opposition against the still-uncompleted project; you can see the ad here. Are they right? As to the details of their claims, I am not sure. It is hard to believe that the architect who designed the memorial is a fifth columnist who deliberately encoded an elaborate pro-Muslim extremism theme into his design, and that the Park Service fell for it.
More fundamentally, though, I think they are right. There is no question that the original design, which survives more or less intact in the current iteration, is built around the central symbol of Islam. Some on the jury, in a spirit of reconciliation, thought this was a good thing. I think it is an absurdity–much as if the Pearl Harbor memorial were to feature a rising sun, or the Norman American Cemetery were laid out in the shape of a swastika.
As Hinderaker notes, the memorial is not yet complete, and the portions that have been built so far are non-controversial. There is still time to stop the insanity.
Rawls’ most recent blogburst: Muslim consultants LIED to Park Service below the fold:
The Park Service enlisted three outside consultants to assess whether the Crescent of Embrace memorial to Flight 93 really can be seen as a giant mihrab: the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built. All three consultants, including two Islamic scholars, were blatantly and provably dishonest.
Consultant #1 (details below) confirmed to the Park Service that the giant crescent (now called a broken circle) does indeed point almost exactly at Mecca, then when asked about it by the press, denied that there is any such thing as the direction to Mecca (insisting that “you can face any direction to face Mecca”).
Consultant #2, a professor of Islamic architecture at MIT, lied about one of the most familiar of all Islamic doctrines, claiming that a legitimate mihrab must point exactly at Mecca. (The original Crescent of Embrace pointed less than 2° north of Mecca. The broken-circle “redesign” points less than 3° south of Mecca. Both highly accurate by Islamic standards.)
Consultant #3, a professor of sharia law at Indiana University (!), came up with an almost comically dishonest rationale for dismissing concern about the giant Mecca-oriented crescent: don’t worry, no one has ever seen a mihrab anywhere near this BIG before. Not so funny is the Park Service’s eagerness to embrace such a transparently ludicrous excuse.
The details are documented in a large advertisement that Alec Rawls and Tom Burnett Sr. are running this week in Somerset Pennsylvania as President Obama and the national press arrive in town for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
The press has so far been unwilling to check even the most basic facts about the memorial, like whether the giant crescent really does point to Mecca (takes about 2 minutes). Maybe charges that the Park Service and its consultants are telling easily verifiable lies will be more up their alley.
That’s the hope, but a strong push might also make the difference. If you want to help, here are email addresses for the new Park Superintendent Keith Newlin and for a few Pennsylvania newspapers. You can write your own letter, or just copy the first four paragraphs above, and tell them that you want these charges checked!
Keith_Newlin@nps.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, TBirdsong@post-gazette.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
After a brief primer on the giant Islamic crescent-and-star flag that the Park Service is building on the Flight 93 crash site, the ad exposes the three blatantly dishonest consultants that the Park Service invited to please pull the wool over their eyes:
Academic charlatan calculates the direction to Mecca, then tells the press that there is no such thing as the direction to Mecca
Here’s a novel way to deny that the giant crescent points to Mecca. Just deny that there is any such thing as the direction to Mecca. This from the Park Service’s first consultant, as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Daniel Griffith, a geospatial information sciences professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, said anything can point toward Mecca, because the earth is round.
That is not an errant paraphrase. Griffith said the same thing to Tribune Democrat reporter Kirk Swauger:
He said you can face anywhere to face Mecca.
So when Muslims face Mecca for prayer, they are just deluding themselves? They could actually face any old direction and still be facing Mecca? Is there really no such thing as a direction on planet earth?
Griffith was lying of course, and the Park Service knew it, because the first thing Griffith’s reporton the orientation of the Crescent of Embrace does is calculate the direction from Shanksville to Mecca:
I computed an azimuth value from the Flight 93 crater site to Mecca of roughly 55.20°.
“Azimuth” means direction, in degrees clockwise from north. Muslims calculate the direction to Mecca by the “great circle” or “shortest distance” method (“as the crow flies,” curving only in the over-the-horizon direction), and this is the method Griffith used. He also accepted that the Crescent in the original design drawings points a mere .62° away from Mecca (about a degree closer than it actually points, but no matter).
In short, Griffith confirmed the Mecca-orientation of the giant crescent, then denied it to the public, but the Park Service knew the truth, because they had Griffith’s actual report. Thus when the Park Service repeated Griffith’s denials that the giant crescent points to Mecca, they too were knowingly hiding the truth from the public. One example is the previous Park Superintendent Joanne Hanley. Asked directly whether the giant crescent points to Mecca she denied it, telling the Post Gazettethat:
The only thing that orients the memorial is the crash site.
The Mecca-orientation of the giant crescent is clear evidence of an enemy plot to re-hijack Flight 93. The American people need to know the facts, while these public figures have worked desperately to keep the facts from them.
Muslim consultant from MIT lied about one of the most familiar of all Islamic doctrines, claiming Mecca-orientation must be exact
After Griffith verified that the crescent/broken-circle does indeed point almost exactly at Mecca, the Park Service asked two Islamic scholars whether there was any Islamic significance to this giant Mecca-oriented crescent. Could it by any chance be seen as a giant mihrab? After all, the archetypical mihrab IS crescent shaped.
The Park Service’s second consultant, a professor of Islamic and mosque architecture at M.I.T. named Nasser Rabbat, assured the Park Service that because the crescent does not point exactly at Mecca it cannot be seen as a mihrab:
Mihrab orientation is either correct or not. It cannot be off by some degrees.
That is a bald lie, and every practicing Muslim knows it. For most of Islam’s 1400 year history far-flung Muslims had no accurate way to determine the direction to Mecca. Thus it developed as a matter of religious principle that what matters is intent to face Mecca, with no requirement for precision in actually facing Mecca. Two or three degrees off is highly precise by Islamic standards. Many of the world’s most famous mihrabs face 20, 30, 40 or more degrees away from Mecca and it matters not one whit.
Every practicing Muslim knows that they only need to face very roughly towards Mecca for prayer because they are constantly availing themselves of this allowance when, five times a day, they seek out walls that they can pray towards that will leave them facing roughly towards Mecca. Not having to face exactly at Mecca for prayer is one of the most familiar of all Islamic doctrines.
Saudi religious authorities confirm: mihrab orientation does NOT have to be
The mihrab-orientation issue came up in 2009 when the denizens of Mecca itself realized that even their local mosques only face very roughly towards the Kaaba. is is an unusual case because the people who built these mosques couldn’t say they didn’t know the actual direction to the Kaaba. They could see it. No problem, according to the Saudi Islamic Affairs Ministry, which assured worshippers that, “it does not affect the prayers.”
Nobody would know this better than Nasser Rabbat, who actually teaches mosque design. Indeed, he would know the full basis for the primacy of intent: that intent is given preeminence throughout Islamic teaching, not just in Mecca-orientation. For instance, Islam’s first instruction to converts is that they are supposed to lie about their religion (Tabari 8.23):
en Nu’aym came to the Prophet. ‘I’ve become a Muslim, but my tribe does not know of my Islam; so command me whatever you will.’ Muhammad said, ‘Make them abandon each other if you can so that they will leave us; for war is deception.’
What matters in Islam is not whether Muslims tell the truth, but whether their intent is to advance Islamic conquest.
Of course we made sure the Park Service saw the proof from the Saudi Islamic A airs Ministry that their Muslim consultant had lied to them about the Mecca-orientation of a mihrab needing to be exact. That was a couple of years ago now. If they had any integrity they would re-open their investigation, but then if they had any integrity they would never have handed their watchdog role over to a pair of Muslim consultants in the first place.
Islamic scholar from Indiana University says don’t worry, no one has ever seen a mihrab anywhere near this BIG before
Kevin Jaques, a professor of Islamic sharia law at Indiana University, does not say whether he is Muslim (remember Tabari 8.23: converts who live amongst the infidels are supposed to hide their religion), but he did write an article right after 9/11 urging that any U.S. response should be based on the principles of sharia law, so he pretty much has to be Muslim. He is definitely an Islamophile.
Professor Jaques’ report to the Park Service acknowledges that the crescent is geometrically similar to the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built, but dismisses any concern about Islamic symbolism on the grounds that no one has ever seen a mihrab anywhere near this BIG before:
… most mihrabs are small, rarely larger than the figure of a man, although some of the more ornamental ones can be larger, but nothing as large as the crescent found in the site design. It is unlikely that most Muslims would walk into the area of the circle/crescent and see a mihrab because it is well beyond their limit of experience. Again, just because it is similar does not make it the same.
You know, like no one can recognize Abe Lincoln’s likeness on Mount Rushmore. It’s just too darn big for ordinary folks to get their tiny little minds around, and the Flight 93 crescent is much bigger than that. It’s actually big enough to be easily visible from airliners like Flight 93 passing overhead. The scale would be epic beyond belief so … don’t believe it!
[Jaques full comment was left anonymously on this radical fruitcake left-wing blog (scroll to the last comment at the bottom). It can be identified as Jaques’ because a chunk of the text is identical to what the Memorial Project released a few months later, naming Jaques as the source. Notice that the Park Service did not release the revealing part of Jaques’ statement, where he acknowledges that the giant crescent IS similar to a mihrab, but is too big to worry about.]
Too big to worry about is not technically a lie perhaps, but it is a transparently dishonest excuse. That it was good enough for the Park Service shows how badly they wanted to be deceived. It would even be funny if the issue were not so deadly serious. Muslims are not allowed to deceive for just any reason. Orthodox doctrine tells them to deceive when by doing so they can advance the cause of Islamic conquest, and one of the oldest traditions of Islamic conquest is the building of victory mosques on the sites of their attacks.
To be completely certain that the memorial is actually intended to be a mosque one has to work through Murdoch’s endless proofs of intent: his elaborate repetition of the Mecca-orientations, the year-round accurate Islamic prayer-time sundial (tomorrow’s ad), the 38 instead of 40 Memorial Groves (Thursday’s ad), etcetera. But the Park Service’s extensive lying to the public about the most basic facts of the design should by itself be a clarion call to everyone to insist on an independent investigation. The Service’s own internal investigation was nothing but proven lies from beginning to end. That is not acceptable!
Neither is the news media’s consistent refusal to check and report the facts. News-people all know that Muslims face Mecca for prayer, yet the Post-Gazette did not question Griffith’s claim that “anything can point to Mecca, because the earth is round.” They too are complicit in foisting this lie on the public. Every reporter who reads this ad and does not try to fact-check our easy-to-verify claims is part of the problem.
What this means, people, is that you have to stand up on your own. Your opinion leaders have abandoned you to this Islamic assault, but if you do stand up to your supposed betters, if you check the facts for yourselves and demand that the press and the government conduct proper investigations, then Murdoch’s plot can still be undone. The hijacker can still be ousted from the cockpit. Now that would be a fitting memorial to Flight 93.
Alec Rawls and Tom Burnett Sr.
Linked by Michelle Malkin in Buzzworthy, thanks!