Flight 93 Memorial centerpiece

Under Construction - the Other 9/11 Mosque

By Cynthia Yacowar-Sweeney—— Bio and Archives--October 12, 2010

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With eyes on New York, it’s easy to overlook the other ground-zero mosque that is presently being built in Shanksville Pennsylvania at the Flight 93 crash site. That 9/11 site is home to what will soon be the world’s largest open-air mosque disguised as a memorial, contends author Alec Rawls. After five years of insignificant media coverage and minimal public awareness, construction of the Flight 93 Memorial centerpiece is already in progress.


The giant half-mile wide Islamic-shaped red crescent of maple trees is slated for completion next year on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, when the autumn leaves of the crescent’s trees turn a brilliant flaming red. The 40 brave American heroes who seized control of the plane from Islamic terrorists and averted what would have been another 9/11 terror attack, are going to be honored with a design that features the major symbol of their murderers - a red Islamic crescent large enough to be seen from aircraft flying overhead.

According to Rawls, this crescent is one of many mosque features embedded in architect Paul Murdoch’s winning “Crescent of Embrace” design, later changed mainly in name only, to “Circle of Embrace”. Another important and mandatory mosque feature is Mecca orientation for prayer. For this memorial to be a proper mosque, it must face Mecca. And Rawls proves it does, in his book “Crescent of Betrayal: Dishonoring the Heroes”. Using math and geometry, Rawls calculates that the center of the crescent points almost exactly towards Mecca. That makes the Flight 93 Memorial a mosque. 

Another feature of paramount significance is a colossal 93-foot minaret-like tower that Rawls argues indicates time for prayer by functioning as an Islamic sundial.    The tower is shaped like a crescent with a crescent-shaped top. More crescents of trees surround the tower and together they too are oriented towards Mecca. The massive size of the tower and crescent displayed on over 2,000 acres of national park land, will undoubtedly convey a message of endorsement, proselytization, and aggrandizement of Islam that is not appropriate to the memory of the 40 American heroes. Not a peep from the ACLU – it is too busy purging the country of Christian symbols and remains silent as the huge religious symbol of Islam is being built according to plan.

The design was selected over five years ago from approximately 1,000 entries worldwide in a public design competition that was overseen by the National Park Service.  Referring to the memorial as a “terrorist memorializing mosque”, Rawls claims it is replete with Islamic symbolism of monumental proportions to emphasize triumph, and pays tribute to the 9/11 terrorists. In fact, every single detail of the design is symbolic. A string of coincidences or a conscious slap in America’s face?

Islamic imagery is certainly not foreign to Murdoch, having worked with award-winning architects Charles Moore and Arthur Erickson who did major design work in Islamic   architecture, the latter of whom designed an open-air mosque in the centre of the campus for the Islamic University of Medina. Erickson’s design appears to be the original model for Murdoch’s outdoor mosque (according to Rawls writing to blogger Hesperado). Furthermore, one of the Park’s design consultants, an expert in the history of mosque design and professor of Islamic architecture at MIT, did his Masters in Architecture at UCLA with Murdoch. Interestingly enough, the crescent and star are featured as the logo for Davis Langdon, the global construction consultant company that assisted Murdoch with the design. His landscape architect Nelson Byrd Woltz, also had a thing for crescents, according to Rawls, and incorporated many in earlier projects. Is it possible that Murdoch’s associates enabled him to properly incorporate mosque features into his design? Or was the design innocently conceived?

Intentional or not, the symbolism does matter and has remained an issue of grave concern for many, especially against the backdrop of the growing threat of Sharia Law in America - the legal code of the Quran which can be brutally oppressive when interpreted by radical Islamists who view the West as the enemy to be conquered. Just recently, on September 15th, a national security report released in Washington by Frank Gaffney’s The Center for Security Policy concluded that the threat posed by Sharia to America is critical. One way the teachings of Sharia can infiltrate and undermine western civilization is via mosques. 

If Rawls is correct in his contention that the memorial is truly a victory mosque in disguise, then there is ample reason for concern, given that many American mosques   are funded by Saudi Arabia, the country that gave America 15 of the 19 terrorists on 9/11, and are radicalized by its Wahhabi hardliners - meaning that these radicals   choose and train the imams and also write or give final approval of the sermons. The Wahhabists aren’t the only ones who have the freedom to force their hate ideology upon the mosque’s worshippers. American mosques are also being infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement that seeks to convert the world to Islam and to establish Sharia Law worldwide. The Brotherhood’s message of transforming the U.S. into an Islamic state (and eventually establishing a global Islamic state) became crystal clear back in 1991 when a key operative of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S., Mohamed Akram, presented Islam (in his strategy memo) as a “civilization alternative” that can be “enabled within the souls, minds and the lives of the people of the country”. He wrote: “The Brotherhood must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within”. Part of that process, which Akram refers to as “Civilization-Jihad”, includes building Islamic centers and mosques. 

Paralleling the construction of the Shanksville memorial-mosque is the growing number of mega-mosques across America, especially in rural areas similar to that of Shanksville. “It does seem to be part of a larger strategy to build mosques in rural areas and create Islamic communities, large Islamic communities, in rural areas for some larger purpose,” says Rebecca Bynum, a columnist for the New English Review. The possibility of propagating radical Islam from some of these mosques is not a far cry from reality. Is it any wonder why the colossal crescent design in rural Pennsylvania has raised numerous questions and eyebrows? Has radical Islam found rural ground upon which to rear its ugly head and spread its detestable ideology?

It’s high time to more effectively address the five-year controversy surrounding the design of the Flight 93 Memorial and give it the exposure and awareness it so rightly deserves. If Americans are to protect their way of life, it is imperative they ensure that this memorial honours the heroes, not the hijackers. Questioning where the estimated $58 million needed to fund this project is coming from, is a start. Does this extravagant and expensive design really do justice to how the heroes would best be remembered? Can’t a more fitting symbol be found to honor their sacrifice? Who were the jury participants of the design competition and who chose them? Who are the university and religious scholars with whom the National Park Service consulted? What other companies did Murdoch refer to and could they have possibly collaborated to come up with a design that actually honours Islam? And if so, why would Murdoch want to infuse Islamic imagery into a design meant to commemorate the legacy of those heroes who died at the hands of radical Islam?

Questions like these, which may be too politically incorrect for many to explore, let alone utter, are finally finding a place in American society and require more attention and investigation. Radical Islam is counting on our ignorance and complacency not only in the United States, but in Canada as well. There’s work to be done, so “let’s roll”.

Cynthia Yacowar-Sweeney is a Montreal-based freelance writer. She monitors and comments on Mideast media reports and the rising threat of radical Islam in the West.


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