Friday, August 05, 2011
"Briareus" claims Flt93 crescent does NOT point to Mecca
Briareus calls himself an "occasional contributor" to the Diary of Daedalus blog, which has done important work in documenting Charles Johnson's efforts to flush his former (anti-jihadist) self down the memory hole. If it was just himself that Johnson was flushing down the toilet, few would care, but he is also flushing the work of thousands of commentators. A lot of genuinely important fact-checking, investigation and documentation was conducted in the LGF community's epic comment threads.
Of particular relevance for present purposes, it was five "lizardoids" who first suggested, then discovered, then verified the Mecca-orientation of the giant Islamic-shaped crescent in the Crescent of Embrace memorial to Flight 93. How ironic that someone who has been helping to preserve these people's contributions is now trying to deny them.
Briareus' recent comments at Atlas Shrugs actually constitute a pretty serious ad hominem attack against me, but they only include one substantive claim:
"Rawls' strongest argument is that the "crescent" points toward Mecca. IT DOESN'T."No need for quotes on "crescent"--they named it Crescent of Embrace--and it is trivially easy to verify that this giant crescent does in fact point within a couple of degrees of Mecca.
Just use any online Islamic prayer-direction calculator to print out the direction to Mecca ("qibla" in Arabic) from Somerset PA. Place this print-out over the Crescent site-plan on your computer screen, and you'll see that the Mecca-line almost exactly bisects the giant crescent:
A person standing between the most protruding tips of the crescent structure and facing into the center of the crescent (red arrow), will be facing almost exactly in the “qibla” direction. To be precise, the crescent points 1.8° north of Mecca, ± 0.1° (calculations here).
The Memorial Project's 2007 White Paper
So where did Briareus get the idea that the crescent does NOT point to Mecca? He isn't explicit, but he does mention an "independent study" he read, and links to the copy of the Memorial Project "White Paper" that I have posted on my Crescent of Betrayal website. This joint effort by the Park Service and the Memorial Project is anything but independent. It was developed internally by the very people I had been criticizing as a ploy to put my criticisms to rest. Still, it is very worth reading. The details it contains are utterly damning, to the Park Service and to the memorial.
On the Mecca-orientation of the crescent, they cite one Dr. Daniel Griffith, a professor of "geospatial information" at the University of Texas, who confirms that the giant crescent does indeed point almost exactly at Mecca. He just tries to deny that this implies any Islamic meaning or intent: "just because calculations are correct does not make the resulting numbers meaningful."
Obviously the meaning of a crescent that points almost-exactly at Mecca is not a question that falls within Dr. Griffith's field of expertise. Briareus can approve Griffith's ignorant declaration that the Mecca-orientation doesn't mean anything if he wants to, but on the point at hand--does the crescent point to Mecca--Griffith and the White Paper confirm this orientation, they do not refute it, as Briareus seems to think.
Hey, let's leave it up to a couple of pious Muslims
The two other consultants on the White Paper are a pair of pious Muslims, both of whom are indeed knowledgeable about the meaning of a Mecca-oriented crescent, and both of whom are transparently dishonest with the Park Service. One, a professor of Islamic and mosque architecture at MIT named Nasser Rabbat, claims that the Crescent of Embrace cannot be seen as a mihrab (the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built) because it does not point exactly at Mecca. To constitute a legitimate mihrab, the crescent could not be off at all in its orientation, or so Rabbat claims:
"Mihrab orientation is either correct or not. It cannot be off by some degrees."That is a bald lie. For most of Islamic 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.
The Flight 93 crescent faces within 2 (now 3) degrees of Mecca, which 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. Further, all practicing Muslims know 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 exact
The mihrab-orientation issue came up recently in Saudi Arabia when the denizens of Mecca itself realized that even their local mosques only face the Kaaba very roughly. This 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 Rabbat, who teaches mosque design at MIT. Indeed, he would know the full basis for the primacy of intent: that intent is given pre-eminence 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). What matters is not whether they tell the truth, but whether their intent is to advance Islamic conquest ("for war is deception").
Consulting with the Muslim Brotherhood
Rabbat knowingly lied about one of the most familiar of all Islamic doctrines. That's a fact. He HAD to know that he was giving the Park Service misinformation. The most likely explanation for why he lied is that he was following this other basic Islamic instruction: to deceive in the service of Islamic conquest. The evidence is that Rabbat is an Islamofascist.
What did the Park Service expect, going to an orthodox Muslim for advice? Don't they know that Osama bin Laden was a perfectly orthodox Wahabbist? The Park Service might as well have asked the Muslim Brotherhood what they thought of Murdoch's al Qaeda victory mosque. (Just fine and dandy, of course.)
There are plenty of moral Muslims, but they are not orthodox. If they are orthodox then they are Islamic supremacists and supporters of conquest by terror, because that is what the orthodoxy demands. Muhammed: "I have been made victorious with terror" (Sahih Bukhari 4.52.220).
I have shown the Park Service the proof of how their devout Islamic consultant lied to them about mihrab orientation having to be exact but they pretend they can't hear. So Rabbat is a jihadi and the involved Park Service personnel are a bunch of cowards. What is Briareus' excuse?
A lot of people have just been duped. Maybe he is one of them. Whatever the case, he really ought to rethink.