Islamic and jihadist design elements in the proposed Flight 93 memorial

From the book Murderer's Mosque, by Alec Rawls, forthcoming from World Ahead Publishing in July 2006.

Copyright © 2006 by Alec Rawls

When architect Paul Murdoch's winning Crescent of Embrace design for the Flight 93 memorial was unveiled in September, onlookers were aghast to see planted on the crash site, not just a giant Islamic crescent, but a full naked Islamic crescent-and-star flag:

A superficial Bowl of Embrace redesign was announced in late November, but no significant changes were made.


Three key facts:

1. The original Crescent of Embrace was oriented on Mecca.
(This was verified by several bloggers, including Mr. Rawls, back in September. Many thousands of people knew about it, including many news reporters, but it was never reported by any media outlet.)
2. The original crescent is still in place in the redesign, and is still oriented on Mecca.
3. A crescent or arch shape that people face into to face Mecca is called a “mihrab” and is the central feature around which every mosque is built.

These facts are detailed in the following five exhibits.


Exhibit I:   The Mecca orientation of the giant crescent in both the original Crescent of Embrace design and the redesign.

Figure 1. Screenshots of Paul Murdoch's half-mile wide central crescent, both from the original Crescent of Embrace site-plans (left) and from the site-plans for the Bowl of Embrace redesign (right). The only change in the entire redesign was the addition of a few trees along the left side of the circle that the original crescent party inscribes.

The longer red line in the image on the left connects the most obtruding crescent tips of the original Crescent of Embrace. The shorter red line is the perpendicular bisector of the crescent-tip line. It depicts depicts the orientation of the crescent (arrow). Counting the rise and run of this bisector in pixels, and translating this slope into degrees, a person facing directly into the original Crescent of Embrace would be facing 53.46 degrees clockwise from north.  That is only 1.73 degrees from the true Mecca-line (55.19 degrees from North).

Exhibit V  below gives simple instructions for calculating the the true Mecca-direction and for calculating angles in graphics. Anyone can easily verify all the information in this post by doing these simple calculations for themselves. Even after 9/11, a barbaric conspiracy of grand proportions, many people are loathe to even look at evidence of conspiracy for fear of being thought a conspiracy-nut, but there is no murky sourcing of information here. To be convinced of the Islamic and jihadist features of Murdoch's design, no one needs to trust anyone but themselves.

Notice that the most obtruding point at the top of the original crescent in Figure 1 is the end of the thousand-foot-long, forty-foot-tall, Entry Portal wall:

Figure 2. The upper crescent tip in the original Crescent design is the end of the giant Entry Portal wall. This image is from the redesign, but if you compare the Entry Portal areas of both designs in Figure 1, you can see that the Entry Portal structure is the same in each.

The redesign added a few trees out beyond the end of the Entry Portal wall, but since the upper crescent tip was defined by the wall, not by trees, adding a few trees in this area does nothing to affect the upper crescent tip. As for the lower crescent tip, the redesign did not make any change to the bottom half of the memorial design at all. Thus both crescent tips, and the orientation of the crescent they define, remain exactly as they were in the original Crescent of Embrace. The bisector still points 1.73 degrees from Mecca (arrow on right in Figure 1).

You can see in Figure 2 how overtly the upper crescent tip remains in place exactly as it was before. The first time Paul Murdoch tried to sneak a half-mile wide Mecca-oriented crescent onto the crash site, he was caught by gate security (the American people). The Memorial Project told him to go back outside and try again, which is exactly what he did. The only change Murdoch made was to slip on a fake beard (the couple of extra trees to the left). Looking at Figure 2, are you fooled? Do you  no longer see the end of the thousand-foot long, forty-foot tall Entry Portal wall?

A crescent or arch shape that people face into to face Mecca is called a mihrab” and is the central feature around  which every mosque is built. Like the Christian cross, a mihrab is a self-contained religious construct. Its surroundings are supposed to be clean, but conditional on that, a mihrab is unaffected by what is outside of it (as the trees to the left in Figure 2 are outside of Murdoch's mihrab). The minimalist example is a Muslim prayer rug, called a musalla (translated "small mosque"), which is nothing but a personal two-dimensional mihrab that Muslims point towards Mecca at prayer time. For religious purposes, all that matters is that Murdoch's mihrab is still there. Adding a few irrelevant trees doesn't change anything, any more than it matters to a Muslim whether there are trees behind his prayer rug.

In addition to his half-mile wide mihrab, Murdoch’s design also contains other typical mosque features, such as the 100 foot tall Tower of Voices minaret, formed in the shape of an extruded crescent. Another typical mosque feature is a pulpit, or mimbar. You can see a possible epic mimbar in Figure 2 above. In all there are a dozen typical mosque features, all of which can be seen to be realized in Murdoch’s design on the same epic scale as his giant mihrab (the world's largest by a factor of about a hundred). But set the additional mosque features aside for now. All that anyone needs to understand up front is the Mecca-orientation of Murdoch’s giant crescent. Surely we can all agree that planting the central feature of a mosque on the crash site is in itself unacceptable.

Exhibit II: The crescents of trees surrounding the Tower of Voices replicate the Mecca-orientation of the giant central crescent exactly.

Figure 3.  A line across the most obtruding crescent tips of the Tower array (red) has virtually the exact same inexact-Mecca-orientation as the bisector of the line across the most obtruding crescent tips of the large crescent in Exhibit 1 (1.79 degrees steeper than the true Mecca line, compared to 1.73 degrees steeper for the bisectors of the giant central crescent). (Graphic is from the Crescent of Embrace site-plan, unchanged in the Bowl of Embrace redesign.)

For anyone who has gotten up to speed on how to calculate angles in graphics, this can be verified in a couple of minutes. The fact that the almost-exact Mecca-orientation of Murdoch's central crescent is repeated exactly in his Tower crescents proves that this orientation is no accident.

Exhibit III: Not just a mosque, but a terrorist memorial mosque.

The copse of trees that sits roughly in the position of the star on an Islamic flag in Murdoch's design marks the point of Flight 93's initial impact with the ground. Looking closely at the copse of trees, one discovers that it is centered a bit to the side of the bisector of the giant crescent. Instead of the bisector passing through the center of the copse of trees, it passes through the top third of the copse of trees. Thus the copse is not quite in the exact position of the star on an Islamic flag.

So what is?  If one looks inside the top third of the copse of trees one discovers that there is a separate upper-section of memorial wall,  centered to within a few pixels of the center of the half-mile wide crescent:

Figure 4. Detail from Figure 1. The closest-to-vertical line in this graphic follows the flight path (coming in from about 15° counter-clockwise from north).  The structure that can be seen following the flight path is a memorial wall.. The red bisector of the giant crescent passes through the center of a separate upper-section of memorial wall, sectioned off by the path that passes through the wall from the left.

The lower section of memorial wall, below where the path comes in from the left, contains forty glass blocks, inscribed with the names of our murdered heroes, but it is the upper section of memorial wall that is the true focus of the memorial. As the star to the crescent, it is integrated into the Islamic symbolism of the design, while the section of memorial wall that is dedicated to the murdered passengers and crew is literally off to the side.

The upper section of memorial wall also contains glass blocks, three of them, inscribed with the date: September 11th, 2001 (see the bottom of page1 of the site-plan PDF's). Thus the date goes to the star on the Islamic flag. The date goes to the terrorists.

There is one last glass block on the flight path: the large glass block that dedicates the entire site. It sits at the end of the Entry Portal Walkway (visible in Figure 2). That brings the total number of glass blocks on the flight path to 44, exceeding the number of our murdered heroes by the number of their murderers. Could the 44 blocks be a coincidence? Swing the crescent tip line in until its bisector points exactly to Mecca and see where it lands:

Figure 5.  The exact-Mecca-tip-line passes through the large glass block that sits at the end of the Entry Portal Walkway, the 44th glass block on the flight path. The perpendicular bisector to this line (the arrow) points 3/100ths of a degree off the true Mecca line. i.e. It points exactly at Mecca, within the pixel resolution of the graphics.

Notice also that if this line is projected upwards, it lands approximately at the end of the outer Entry Portal wall, which does not extend as far out as the inner Entry Portal wall. The most obtruding crescent tip, defined by the end of the inner wall, orients the crescent slightly off Mecca. The end of the outer wall offers a similar but hidden way of defining the crescent, this time oriented exactly on Mecca. The key to discovering this hidden exact-Mecca-orientation is the 44th glass block. Thus the terrorist memorializing features of Murdoch's design (the four extra glass blocks, and the separate section of memorial wall that they implicate, placed as the star on an Islamic flag) create the true-Mecca-orientation of Murdoch's mosque, making it a terrorist-memorial mosque.

Could this possibly be a one in a million-trillion lightning strike of coincidence?

Exhibit IV:   Exact Mecca orientation repeated in the Tower crescents.

To go from the inexact-Mecca-orientation of the central crescent to the exact-Mecca-orientation of the central crescent, just swing the crescent tip-line in from the most obtruding point at the top of the crescent to the more recessed crescent tip that sits slightly further out (as described in Exhibit III above).

This structure is repeated in the crescents of trees that surround the Tower of Voices minaret:

Figure 6. Swing the red line that crosses the most obtruding crescent tips inwards until it touches the next most obtruding crescent tip on the bottom (black line) and you get the exact direction to Mecca, within the pixel resolution of the graphics. (The black line points 55.13 degrees clockwise from north, 6/100ths of a degree steeper than the true Mecca direction.)

To see directly how the same pattern of inner and outer crescent tips yields the inexact and exact Mecca orientations of both the central crescent and the Tower crescents, just rotate the image of the central crescent graphic 90° counterclockwise:

Figure 7. The central crescent, with inexact and exact Mecca tip-lines, rotated 90° for easy comparison with the preceding Tower-crescents graphic.

The red lines in both graphics are about 1.75 degrees steeper than the true Mecca-line (1.79° and 1.73° respectively). Both black lines point exactly at Mecca, within the pixel resolution of the graphics. Both inexact Mecca-orientations connect the two most obtruding crescent tips. Both exact Mecca-orientations swing in to the further out and more recessed lower-left crescent tip.

Enough said, for now. You can find more background at Alec Rawls's Error Theory blog, and there will be many more revelations in Murderer's Mosque, forthcoming this summer from World Ahead.

Exhibit V:  How to easily verify for yourself the Mecca orientations of Murdoch’s crescents.

Great circle calculations
A variety of great-circle calculators are available online. The Kansas City Amateur Television Group has one posted here (

Visiting the Flight 93 crash-site with Google Earth shows the coordinates of the point of impact to be 40:03:07N by 78:54:17W.  A Google Earth visit to Mecca shows coordinates of 21:25:48N by 39:49:12E. Punching these numbers into the KCATV calculator, the direction to Mecca from the crash-site comes up as 55.19 degrees (measured clockwise from north).


Figure 8.  Screen-shot of great-circle calculator. Different calculators use different assumptions about the shape of the Earth, but they all yield directions to Mecca from the crash site that are within a tenth of a degree of 55.2. 

Screen-shots of graphics
To take a screenshot of a graphic on a Windows PC, press “alt” + “print screen” at the same time. The screen-shot is now on your clip-board and can be pasted into a graphics program.

Arctangent calculations
For those who graphics programs do not calculate polar coordinates, the arctangent function provides a simple way to convert rise and run in pixels into slope in degrees. (Plain-Jane Microsoft Paint has pixel counters at the lower right of the screen.)

Figure 9.  For any right triangle, the tangent function of an acute angle A is defined as the ratio of the side opposite A to the side adjacent to A. Tangent (A) = (a/b). 

The arctangent function is the inverse of the tangent function, thus A = arctangent(tangent(A)) = arctangent(a/b).

Example: The first image of Exhibit I is from a screenshot of page 4 of the Crescent of Embrace PDFs, blown up to 600%. The line connecting the tips of the red maple crescent in this screenshot covers 448 pixels north to south and 332 pixels west to east. Flip these over to get the slope of the bisector in pixels (332px of rise for every 448px of run). To find the slope of this bisector in degrees, just solve for A = arctangent (332/448) = 36.54 degrees = the angle of the red bisector line above horizontal (east, in Fig. 1). Any rudimentary scientific calculator will have the arctangent function on it, which can be used to verify this calculation. If you don't have a scientific calculator, you can find one online here
(press "inv" then "tan" to apply the arctangent function).

Global orientations are usually specified in terms of degrees clockwise from north, not degrees counter-clockwise from east. Degrees down from north and up from east sum to 90, so subtract 36.54 from 90 to get that the red bisector in Figure 1 is oriented 53.46 degrees clockwise from north.

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