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Is The Flight 93 Memorial A Tribute To Islam?

I have so far resisted speculating about the oddly crescent-shaped memorial designed to commemorate the brave souls of Flight 93. I had hoped its widely noted resemblance to the Moslems’ iconic crescent was just (often well justified) paranoia, mostly because it is near impossible to believe anyone involved in the memorial would pull such a grotesque stunt.

And I am still not entirely convinced the similarity is intentional. But the Flight 93 Memorial Project site has done an impressive job marshalling the arguments that something untoward is going on.

Today being the fourth anniversary of 9/11, and of course Flight 93, it may be a good time to examine what in a better world would be unthinkable:

Flight 93 Memorial Project

"Crescent of Embrace," by Paul Murdoch Architects

This page is about the controversy surrounding the design of the Flight 93 Memorial Project, "Crescent of Embrace."

As already pointed out at Real Clear Politics and Little Green Footballs, the winning design chosen to memorialize the heroes and victims of 9/11’s Flight 93 is in the shape of a red crescent that looks — either accidentally or intentionally — remarkably like an Islamic crescent.

To prove this point, I have taken a high-resolution map of the winning design (a pdf of which can be downloaded at this site (alt-click or option-click to download the pdf file); and a prototypical rendition of the Islamic crescent moon (taken from the Tunisian flag, the original image of which can be found at this site ).

Here is the winning memorial design (by Paul Murdoch Architects), entitled "Crescent of Embrace," rotated so that it points to the right:

And here is a typical Islamic crescent, taken directly from the Tunisian flag:

This is what it looks like when we lay the memorial design (made transparent) on top of the Islamic crescent:

As is plainly visible, they are almost identical.

An animated image that I made, comparing the two shapes, can be found at the top of this page. (Hat tip to Rayra for inspiring this Throbbing Memorial animated gif.)

Rayra has also created his own animated gif comparing the memorial and a Tunisian flag crescent: you can see it here.

"Hillbilly geek" has also created a very interesting animation with the landscape view of the memorial.

"Etaoin Shrdlu" has generated an azimuthal equidistant world map centered on the location of the Flight 93 Memorial which seems to indicate that the crescent is oriented toward Mecca.

If you feel this "Crescent of Embrace" design is inappropriate for a memorial to Flight 93, you can email your suggestions and concerns to

Paul Murdoch, the winning architect, at paul@paulmurdocharchitects.com;

or the National Park Service, which will make the final decision on the design, at their Flight 93 Web contact form ;

or you can call the Superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial at (814) 443-4557, or fax him at (814) 443-2180.

If you click through to some of the other graphics, you will see that they make a fairly strong case.

One thing that sometimes goes without saying in these links, is that the red in the red crescent is supplied by maple trees, which were artfully selected because they turn crimson in the fall. 

Of course, Paul Murdoch would not the first to use the autumnal colors of trees to get a political message across:

This photograph was taken on November 14, 2000. The swastika consisted of Larch trees in a Pine forest near the village of Zernikow, Germany. It was only visible from the air a few weeks in the Spring and a few weeks in the Fall, when Larch trees stood out in contract to the surrounding Pine trees. The trees were planted in the 1930’s during Nazi times. Local forestry officials cut down 25 of the Larch trees after this photo appeared in several German tabloids.

Murdoch seems to have rejected the charges of Islamic overtones–without, however, explicitly denying them. He has been, nevertheless, very upfront with his categorical refusal to change any aspect of his design.

The feelings of the families of those people who perished on that flight–and their countrymen–matter not a whit. Murdoch is an artist , after all.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, September 11th, 2005. Comments are currently closed.

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