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September 11, 2005

It points towards Mecca

Today is September 11.

Michelle Malkin and other bloggers are buzzing about the proposed Flight 93 memorial, which bears a striking resemblance to an Islamic crescent. Zombie produces an animated image consisting of the memorial (rotated so the arms of the crescent point to the right) overlapped with the crescent of the Tunisian flag. The juxtaposition is nearly perfect.

Zombie also links to this image credited to "Etaoin Shrdlu". What you're seeing is an azimuthal equidistant projection of the globe centered on the Flight 93 crash site. On such a projection, the concentric circles represent a fixed distance from the center, and the angle of a straight line from the center to any point represents the azimuth between the two points. Etaoin's image shows that a line perpendicular to the endpoints of the crescent (that is, the direction the crescent faces) appears to pass very close to Mecca. Mecca sits near Saudi Arabia's western coast with the Red Sea, and as Etaoin's image shows, the crescent points right at it.

But I've always been one to go for cold calculations over pretty pictures, so I set to find out if indeed the crescent points towards Mecca. Here's what I came up with:

According to this site, the latitude/longitude coordinates of Mecca are 21.4234, 39.8262 and the coordinates of the Flight 93 crash site are 40.052, -78.8963. Using the calculator from this site, I determined that the azimuth between the two points is 124.80°.

Next I went to the Flight 93 National Memorial website and found the biggest overhead view of the memorial I could find with north oriented up. I measured the distance from tip-to-tip of the crescent and came up with 64px east-west and 90px north-south. The arctangent of 64/90 is the angle between north and a line drawn between the tips, which works out to 35.42°. Adding 90° to this angle gives the direction the crescent faces as 125.42°.

Conclusion: the crescent points towards Mecca with an error of 0.62°, or 0.17%. If you take a circle and divide its circumference into 580 equal arcs, the angle subtended by one of those arcs is the error. (Bear in mind that any error in my figures could change this value; the figure most open to interpretation is the distance in pixels between the tips of the crescent.)

I don't know if the architect deliberately made his design look like an Islamic crescent, or if it's coincidental. I don't know if the architect deliberately made his crescent point almost directly towards Mecca, or if it's coincidental. What I do know is that a memorial in the shape of a swastika would never be permitted, whether the resemblance was intentional or a coincidence. Nor would a memorial resembling a Confederate battle flag.

The strong resemblance of this memorial to an Islamic symbol, whether intentional or accidental, is grossly insensitive to those of us who find it offensive. The commission needs to go back to the drawing board.

UPDATE: Welcome visitors from too many sites to individually thank. Alec at Error Theory uses a different method to calculate the bisector of the crescent and comes up with nearly identical results.

September 11, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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» Flight 93 Memorial, Update from Flopping Aces
Like I said in my earlier post, the designer of this memorial obviously meant this to thumb his nose at those who love this country. He thought he could get this thing through without anyone being the wiser. Maybe the whole 15 member panel thought th... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 12, 2005 12:03:41 AM

» Getting up to speed on azimuthal equidistant projections from sisu
Look, Ma, #2. We've calculated our own qibla direction for the unfortunately named Crescent of Embrace at the heart of the Flight 93 Memorial design dispute. Technical note: We got the latitude and longitude for Shanksville here and then plugged [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 12, 2005 7:29:08 PM


Ha! I was wondering when this insanity would migrate from Malkin to here. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a half-circle is just a half-circle.

Now the red crescent on the Christian Coalition logo on the other hand is a sure sign that those insidious moon-worshippers have infiltrated one of our great American institutions. Is nothing sacred to these heathens?


The Coalition has been compromised. We should nuke them from orbit. Just to be sure.

Posted by: Hobospider | Sep 11, 2005 5:22:56 PM

Congrats, Hobo... you made the 500th comment to this site.

The Christian Coalition uses a crescent as its logo, but not the Islamic crescent. It subtends a different (smaller) angle. The memorial, on the other hand, is virtually indistinguishable from the Islamic crescent, as can easily be seen in the animated overlay pictures.

Are you denying that the memorial looks an awful lot like the Islamic crescent? Are you denying that it's oriented in the direction of Mecca? Perhaps both of these things are nothing but coincidence... but it doesn't matter. If a memorial to Holocaust victims happened to coincidentally look like a swastika, it would certainly be changed as soon as the resemblance was noted.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | Sep 11, 2005 5:39:06 PM

Wingnutty goodness!

Posted by: The Liberal Avenger | Sep 11, 2005 6:53:23 PM

Yes, Avenger... isn't argumentum ad hominem much easier than logic? More fun, too.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | Sep 11, 2005 6:56:08 PM

The animated overlay picture conveniently uses the Tunisian flag's specific crescent to make its point, which happens to subtend to the same angle of the memorial's arc of maples. Tunisia's representation is by no means the definitive Islamic Crescent, which can be seen with many different arcs and angles. It is also generally paired with a star, which is notably absent from the memorial.

I am a visual artist by trade and am certainly sensitive to inappropriate imagery where it doesn't belong. However I see no tangible connection between the arc of red maples in the Flight 93 memorial and the crescent/star symbol of Islam.

Apparently neither did the families of the victims of Flight 93 who were the ones who helped pick the final design and are puzzled over the Malkin- led offensive against the design. I applaud your sensitivity, but if those whose family are the ones being honored think it isn't offensive, why do you?

Also: w00t! 500! What do I win?

Posted by: Hobospider | Sep 11, 2005 7:04:07 PM

"sometimes a half-circle is just a half-circle"
Yeah... That's why it's called the "Crescent of Embrace", instead of some other word that doesn't have Islamist overtones.

Posted by: The Monster | Sep 11, 2005 8:46:55 PM

Now the red crescent on the Christian Coalition logo on the other hand is a sure sign that those insidious moon-worshippers have infiltrated one of our great American institutions.

Um, actually, I think the "red crescent" is a 'C'. The one inside of it is also a 'C'. Incidentally, the name "Christian Coalition" might be abbreviated with 2 'C's.

Posted by: Dave S | Sep 11, 2005 9:29:46 PM

A big red Islamic symbol that points straight towards Mecca, to an accuracy of half a degree? Has to be a coincidence.

I bet the architect has never even heard of Islam.

Posted by: Evil Pundit | Sep 11, 2005 11:27:34 PM

You don't mention how you located the orientation of the memorial's lopsided crescent. I did some examination of the question using the copse of trees at the top of the graveyard to center the crescent. On all the Islamic I have seen that have one star, the star bisects the crescent, and sure enough, a qibla line from from Mecca to the center of the crescent's circle projects straight through the copse. Did you use the copse to center the crescent? To see my post, click on my link.

Posted by: Alec Rawls | Sep 12, 2005 3:15:57 AM

Aha. I see that you centered the crescent by identifying the tips of the red areas on the Park Foundation graphic.

Now try this. Measure from those same tips to the center of the copse. Identical! At least if you count the extent of the upper red area by the lined boundary at its furthest extent. (The first red pixels aren't till a bit further in.)

The copse bisects the crescent perfectly. What sick bastards. They planted an Islamic flag on the bodies of our dead heroes.

Posted by: Alec Rawls | Sep 12, 2005 4:39:00 AM

Thanks for the link, Alec, although if you were within range of my fists I'd give you a good one on the shoulder for that "you really have to be a qibla" line.

One question: how do you know that the copse bisects the crescent? Does it just look like it, or is there something official somewhere that says it does?

Also, just want to emphasize that I am not declaring it proven that the orientation towards Mecca and the Islamic symbolism were intentional. Heck, coincidences happen, even very unlikely coincidences. I'm saying that even if this was completely an accident, the symbolism is still there and is still unacceptable.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | Sep 12, 2005 8:23:50 AM

Amazing how you got 5-sig-fig precision out of 2-sig-fig measurements!

Posted by: J-E-W-S | Sep 12, 2005 12:20:17 PM

Someone (not knowing its history) said my map with 54 degree qibla from Pittsburg wasn't fair as the crash site qibla is 55.08 degrees (from North).

So I made a diagram for Somerset using the same qibla calculator -
And slapped Zombie's animation on top of it for good measure. Contains extended line goodness!


Posted by: SarahW | Sep 12, 2005 12:46:23 PM

I should probably link to an explanation of how that was made

Posted by: SarahW | Sep 12, 2005 12:49:52 PM

Voice wrote: "One question: how do you know that the copse bisects the crescent?"

Your update has it right. I use the copse as a method of bisecting the crescent, based on the possibility that the copse is intended to represent the star on an Islamic flag. On all the one star flags I have seen, the star bisects the crescent, so if that is the intended representation, the copse can be used to determine the orientation of the crescent.

I found that the copse bisects the crescent on exactly the same line that your method (halfway between the crescent tips, and through the center of the circle) bisects it. Since your method points to Mecca, so does the copse bisecting method.

The significance of the copse is that the memorial is more than "just" a religious symbol (as if that isn't bad enough). They are trying to plant an Islamic flag on the bodies of our murdered heroes, the flag of their murderers. It is an Islamo-fascist coup. I'm guessing it will come out that there is some Saudi or Palestinian or Pakistani or Chechen connection at Murdoch's Architecture firm. Can plain old Michael Moore/ Cindy Sheehan moonbats actively play at Bin Ladenism in this way?

(Add an end-zone dance for the qibla line.)

Posted by: Alec Rawls | Sep 12, 2005 5:34:59 PM

Jonathan: I have a new post up that just might crack this thing wide open. You won't believe what I discovered in the Crescent's PDF's. There is a separate memorial within the larger memorial that includes translucent blocks for the terrorists. The memorial to the flight crew and passengers contains forty inscribed translucent blocks for the the forty murdered Americans, but there are four more. Forty-four dead people. Forty-four translucent blocks. That is the tip of the iceberg.

Click on my link to see my post.


Posted by: Alec Rawls | Sep 24, 2005 4:42:43 PM

I believe there is a deliberate use of the islamic crescent in corporate logos as well. Keen an eye out for modified crescents on company logos, say like BP (petrol).
Its an evil agenda to unite the world under Islam!


Posted by: Yisraelee | Jan 19, 2007 6:46:29 PM

To the six original verifiers of the Mecca orientation of the Crescent of Embrace

Six of us verified the Mecca orientation of the Crescent of Embrace back in September 2005 (Jonathan Haas, Sarah Wells, Richard Fernandez, Cao, myself, and the anonymous Etaoin Shrdlu, who was linked by Zombie). Hound dog added another verification technique in 2006.

Every particle of structure in the original Crescent design remains completely intact in the Bowl of Embrace redesign. It is only disguised now by a few surrounding trees. That is important, because a crescent that Muslims face into to face Mecca is called a mihrab, and is the central feature around which every mosque is built. You can plant as many trees around a mosque as you want. It is still a mosque, and this is going to be the world’s largest mosque by a factor of a hundred.

Defenders of the Crescent/Bowl design (including Pittsburgh’s two major newspapers) have chosen to counter my public warnings about the crescent being oriented on Mecca by trying to dupe all of Pennsylvania into believing that there is not such thing as the direction to Mecca. Their vehicle is a wacademic from the University of Texas that the Memorial Project managed to dig up. Here is what he told the 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.

This nonsense is now going uncountered in ALL the Western Pennsylvania newspapers, as I describe in a recent blog post (http://errortheory.blogspot.com/2007/09/no-direction-to-mecca.html).

Can the Memorial Project and the press actually get away with duping Pennsylvania into believing that there is no such thing as a direction on planet earth?

Tom Burnett Sr. has issued an urgent appeal for all Americans to take seriously his and my warnings about the crescent design, while the press is working furiously to keep the truth suppressed. (http://errortheory.blogspot.com/2007/08/tom-burnett-sr-denounces-flight-93.html.)

Tom and I need help.

You all know the truth here. Please re-iterate it for your readers, and point out the deceptions being propagated by the defenders of the crescent design.

Any assistance you can give will be much appreciated.

Sincerely, Alec Rawls

Posted by: Alec Rawls | Sep 20, 2007 8:44:10 AM

Don't you idiots have anything more important to worry about?

Posted by: Osama | May 14, 2008 11:19:26 AM

Just wanted to say hellos

Posted by: Vince | Aug 8, 2008 6:26:02 PM

You guys do a wonderful job! Keep up the good work!!!o

Posted by: Dan | Sep 8, 2008 5:38:45 PM

I have been looking for sites like this for a long time. Thank you!

Posted by: Kathy | Nov 4, 2008 6:55:43 PM

These prayers help me to keep God in my life, especially with the many distractions I encounter.a

Posted by: judy | Nov 12, 2008 2:10:23 AM

first, the crescent is oriented along the trajectory of the plane as it was crashing, the closeness to the direction of mecca is coincidental

secondly, as a resident of western PA, i can tell you that probably 90% of the people you talk to here know somebody from the immediate area who saw a fighter jet and heard explosions prior to the crash. it's kinda common knowledge around here that it was shot down

Posted by: borrtaz | Feb 25, 2010 2:52:16 PM

A big red Islamic symbol that points straight towards Mecca, to an accuracy of half a degree? Has to be a coincidence.

Luigi Hanway

Posted by: private aircraft charter | Jun 10, 2010 5:57:51 AM

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