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Saudis Build Giant Clock For ‘Mecca Time’

Just in time for Ramadan, from the Agence France-Pressee (AFP):

Saudis hope giant clock will set ‘Mecca Time’

Tue Aug 10, 2010

MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AFP) – Muslims around the world could be setting their watches to a new time soon when the world’s largest clock begins ticking atop a soaring skyscraper in Islam’s holiest city of Mecca.

Saudi Arabia hopes the four faces of the new clock, which will loom over Mecca’s Grand Mosque from what is expected to be the world’s second tallest building, will establish Mecca as an alternate time standard to the Greenwich median.

And by ‘hope,’ they mean they are determined to make this the new standard. Welcome to Sharia Time.

The clock is targeted to enter service with a three-month trial period in the first week of the holy month of Ramadan on or about August 12, according to the Saudi state news agency SPA.

Notice that they have to say Ramadan starts "on or about August 12" because these scholars are still not quite sure when the New Moon will be. These things cannot be predicted, you know. Muslims still kill each other over this vital detail.

It boasts four glimmering 46 metre-across (151 feet) faces of high-tech composite tiles, some laced with gold, sitting more than 400 metres (1,320 feet) over the Holy Haram compound.

The tower’s height will reach 601 metres (1,983 feet), SPA said. On its website, Premiere Composite, which is responsible for cladding the top section — including a shimmering spire topped by a golden crescent moon — puts the planned height at 590 metres (1,947 feet).

That would make it the world’s second tallest building — ahead of Taiwan’s 509 metre (1,670 feet) Taipei 101, but well behind the Burj Khalifa, the 828 metre (2,717 feet) skyscraper inaugurated in Dubai in January.

Some 250 "highly qualified Muslim workers" were completing welding work on the clock’s frame, SPA said.

Notice we are not told who made the actual works of the clock. We suspect it was not made by "highly qualified Muslim workers."

(Update: Other reports say German and Swiss engineers designed the clock. And according to the Ministry of Religious Endowments, the entire project will cost $800 million.)

More than six times larger in diameter than London’s famed Big Ben, the clock faces, with the Arabic words "In the Name of Allah" in huge lettering underneath, will be lit with two million LED lights.

For the record, Big Ben is actually the bell in the London clock tower. Not the clock or the tower itself.

Some 21,000 white and green coloured lights, fitted at the top of the clock, will flash to as far as 30 kilometres (18.7 miles) to signal Islam’s mandatory five-times daily prayers.

On special Muslim occasions, 16 bands of vertical lights will shoot some 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) up into the sky.

"Everyone is interested to see the clock, despite the lack of sufficient information about it, and its mechanism," said Mecca resident Hani al-Wajeeh.

"We in Mecca hope to be the world’s central time zone, and not just have a clock to look at, to show off," he said.

The developer of the massive seven-tower Abraj al-Bait complex had kept the details of the clock a secret, but it is visibly in place now, adorned with the green crossed sword and palm symbol of the Saudi state.

Mohammed al-Arkubi, the manager of the Royal Mecca Clock Tower Hotel in the building below, said the installation of the clock, its faces made by the German-owned Dubai company, Premiere Composite Technologies, has been "a huge operation."

The clock reflects a goal by some Muslims to replace the 126-year-old Universal Time standard — originally called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) — with Mecca mean time.

At a conference in Doha in 2008, Muslim clerics and scholars presented "scientific" arguments that Mecca time is the true global meridian. They said that Mecca is the centre of the world and that the Greenwich standard was imposed by the west in 1884.

Yes, the Greenwich standard was obviously imposed by the sword. Personally, we can’t wait to redo every map and globe in the world to accommodate these charming people.

Big does not begin to describe the Abraj al-Bait complex just across the street from the south gate of the Grand Mosque, the Muslim world’s most sacred site.

Built by a government-controlled fund, the complex sits seven huge towers atop a massive podium. Six are between 42 and 48 stories, and in the middle is the clock tower, appearing nearly twice as tall as the others.

Moreover, the entire complex, with 3,000 hotel rooms and apartments, a five-story shopping centre and gigantic prayer and conference halls, will give it 1.5 million square metres (16.1 million square feet) of floor space, according to architects and construction industry reports.

At that it will tie Dubai International Airport’s newest terminal three for the world’s largest building by floor space.

The complex will sport three top-class hotels, the Fairmont, Raffles and Swiss Hotel. It will also have hundreds of luxury apartments, most of them designed to have a direct view of the Grand Mosque

There is no word as to whether there will be an ‘interfaith center’ in the complex. – Just kidding, of course. Any non-believers found in Mecca are executed on the spot.

The project is part of the Saudi government’s plan to develop Mecca to be able to receive as many as 10 million hajj pilgrims every year, up from the current three million capacity.

That is necessary to accommodate a rapidly growing global population of Muslims, who have a duty to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetimes, if possible.

At the peak of the hajj, according to architect Dar al-Handasah, the complex should accommodate 65,000 people.

The clock will be the focus. Elevators will take visitors up to a huge viewing balcony just underneath the faces, and also a four-story astronomical observatory and Islamic museum

Is this by any chance being funded by NASA as part of their ‘Muslim outreach program’?

Still, hopefully, this new "astronomical observatory" will help these gentle folk figure out when the New Moon occurs, so they can stop killing each other over it. Though, of course they will find other reasons.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, August 11th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “Saudis Build Giant Clock For ‘Mecca Time’”

  1. AcornsRNutz says:

    Oh, if you thought it was a glorious sight to see the statue of sadam toppled………

  2. Petronius says:

    SG : “For the record, Big Ben is actually the bell in the London clock tower. Not the clock or the tower itself.”

    Yes, thank you for the correction. Please note, however, that this news report is coming from a Frog news agency. So the error was probably deliberate.

    SG : “Yes, the Greenwich standard was obviously imposed by the sword. Personally, we can’t wait to redo every map and globe in the world to accommodate these charming people.”


    SG : “Is this by any chance being funded by NASA as part of their ‘Muslim outreach program’?”

    Brilliant! I’m laughing so hard tears are streaming.

    SG : “Still, hopefully, this new ‘astronomical observatory’ will help these gentle folk figure out when the New Moon occurs, so they can stop killing each other over it.”

    Too much! Enough already! My sides are splitting!

    Steve, you are in top form this morning. :-)

  3. proreason says:

    Why did the Germans or the Swiss have to build a clock and tower for them?

    Can’t they just ask Mohammed for the time?

    And what will happen when the technicians are forceably converted to Islam and lose all interest in technology?

  4. NoNeoCommies says:

    Why not?
    An alternate reality deserves its own time standard.
    They already have a long list of double standards.

  5. Right of the People says:

    Is Mecca time anything like Hammer time?

    Just askin’.

  6. beautyofreason says:

    Are they sure it’s halal?

    After all, infidels built it.

  7. Tater Salad says:

    Now let me see if this is going somewhere! A muslim gets hired into GM/Ford/Chrysler on the assembly line. The clock strikes 12:00 UTC for lunch. Mecca time is different than UTC time. Does the company fire this moron now or later because he isn’t going to lunch with the majority and will take his own lunch at Mecca/Muhammed Time, thereby leaving the line one man short.

    • pamypo says:

      This fellow has already had two pray breaks before lunch break. It is ok tho, he is a member of the UAW!

  8. U NO HOO says:

    Hey, is Easter on a Sunday next year?

  9. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “That would make it the world’s second tallest building

    Sure hope it doesn’t interfere with any air traffic.

  10. canary says:

    It appears there’s a lot more than just a clock being added; more like a kingdom being built according to pics at wiki. They used to face Jerusalem until Muhammad man told them to turn 1 day.

    Obviously the Jews were in Israel first, and someone needs to tell Obama who states Israel should not have been given the land in the 60’s treaty.
    I’ll stick with the Jewish & Christian version that in the end the Holy Temple will stand.

    … the salaat and plays an important part in everyday ceremonies. The head of an animal that is slaughtered using Halal methods is aligned with the Qiblah. After death, Muslims are buried with their faces in the direction of the Qiblah.

    (oh, that’s how Obama’s family insisted Obama Sr. be buried next to his grandfather at the family plot in Africa. )

    Originally, the Qiblah (direction for prayer) for Muslims was toward the Noble Sanctuary (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem (and it is therefore called the First of the Two Qiblahs). At least since Mishnaic times (AD200), Jews face the Temple Mount in Jerusalem while praying. The Mishnah speaks about this in Berakhot chapter 4, Mishnahs 5 and 6 and this practice is even found as early as I Kings 8:35-36. In Islam, this qiblat was used for over 13 years, from 610 CE until 623 CE. Seventeen months after the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s 622 CE arrival in Medina,[1] the Qiblah became oriented towards the Kaaba in Mecca. According to accounts from Muhammad’s companions, the change happened very suddenly during the noon prayer in Medina, in a mosque now known as Masjid al-Qiblatain (Mosque of the Two Qiblahs). Muhammad was leading the prayer when he received revelations from Allah instructing him to take the Kaaba as the Qiblah (literally, “turn your face towards the Masjid al Haram”).

    According to the historical accounts, Muhammad, who had been facing Jerusalem, upon receiving this revelation, immediately turned around to face Mecca, and those praying behind him also did so.

    So from whencesoever Thou startest forth, turn Thy face in the direction of the sacred Mosque; and wheresoever ye are, Turn your face thither: that there be no ground of dispute against you among the people, except those of them that are bent on wickedness; so fear them not, but fear Me; and that I may complete My favours on you, and ye May (consent to) be guided;
    —Qur’an 2:149–150 (Yusuf Ali)

    Qur’an 2:177–250 (Yusuf Ali) says belief is enough & helping poor. Nothing about building a place with gold lace.

    (oh, and don’t forget Obama & clan repeatedly telling us we owe muslims for their math skills)

    Several Muslim mathematicians and astronomers,…agree that at the two moments in each year when the sun is directly overhead the Kaaba, the direction of shadows in any sunlit place will point directly away from the Qiblah. This happens on May 27 or May 28 at 9:18 GMT and on July 15 or July 16 at 9:27 GMT….Likewise there are two moments in each year when the Sun is directly over the antipodes of the Kaaba. This happens on January 12 or January 13 at 21:29 GMT and on November 28 at 21:09 GMT.

    Because the Earth is almost a sphere, this is almost the same as saying that the Qiblah from a place is the direction in which a bird would start flying in order to get to the Kaaba by the shortest possible way.


  11. artboyusa says:

    As long as they have some European engineers to maintain it and battalions of Philipino slaves to clean it, the clock will work fine. Built by Saudi’s own Bin Laden Group too, btw.

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