Wednesday, 03 October 2007


The Flight 93 Memorial and Islamic Symbolism

In his introduction to The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R Tolkien warned readers against confusing "allegory" with "applicablilty"-- one is the intent of the author, the other in the eye of the beholder. One might also say "hindsight reveals symbolism," even where there was no symbolic intent originally.[1]

But since September 2005, when bloggers first raised the issue of Paul Murdoch's "Crescent of Embrace" design for Pennsylvania's Flight 93 Memorial resembling the Islamic crescent moon symbol, Alec Rawls and others have accumulated enough additional evidence of Islamic symbolism in the design to tell me that it goes beyond coincidence. Despite objections from the public, it appears that construction will proceed.

Rawls has written a book collecting his findings (to be published early next year), which he has made available for download in the interim . I've linked several other sources below, and I urge you to check them out.

In the face of the controversy, the western-Pennsylvania press seems to be in denial. In fact, they're backpedalling:

Professor Daniel Griffith, who is serving as a consultant to the Memorial Project, told the Post Gazette that: "anything can point toward Mecca, because the earth is round."… He made similar statements to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review and the Johnstown Tribune Democrat...
[But when the] Tribune Review... commissioned Professor Griffith to analyze the blogosphere's Mecca-orientation claims..., the first thing Griffith [did was] calculate the direction to Mecca:
I computed an azimuth value from the Flight 93 crater site to Mecca of roughly 55.20°. [Extract from Griffith's Tribune-Review report. The complete report is available here. - O.G.]
"Azimuth" is the technical term for "direction," measured in degrees clockwise from north. Now Griffith is denying that there is any such thing as the direction to Mecca, and the Tribune Review refuses to tell its readers that Griffith is contradicting the report that he wrote for them. -- John Stevenson, "Pennsylvania Newspapers Pretend There Is No Direction to Mecca" [Links in original, highlighting mine - O.G.]

Check out the entire NewsBusters post. Read Rawls's analysis. Seems like there's sufficient smoke to justify yelling "fire!" to me.

Via: Right On the Right
[1] For a likely example of "interpretation in retrospect," review the recent flap over the Navy's "swastika-shaped barracks" in California. (One reader comments here: "It's a good thing the Nazis didn't use a rectangle as their symbol or we would have to tear down most of the buildings in the US...")

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