Model of Flight 93 memorial

A Pennsylvania pastor is fighting the newly approved design of the Flight 93 National Memorial, contending its crescent pattern is a symbol of Islam.

Rev. Ron McRae, head of the Bible Anabaptist Church near Jerome, Pa., about 55 miles from Pittsburgh, said a private group he formed might go to court to block the “Crescent of Embrace” memorial designed by Paul Murdoch Associates of Los Angeles.

“This is a memorial to the terrorists who killed those people, not a memorial to the folks who died there innocently,” McRae told the Tribune-Democrat newspaper in Johnstown, Pa.

McRae of Conemaugh Township, Pa., is director and founder of the Lancaster-based Street Preachers Fellowship.

Muslim Crescent

The heart of the memorial is a mile-long semicircle of red maples surrounding the place near Shanksville, Pa., where the flight’s 40 passengers and crew were killed when the hijacked plane plunged into the ground Sept. 11, 2001.

The designer maintains he used the term crescent only in the architectural sense of a curved line.

“This is not about any religion per se,” Murdoch told the Tribune-Democrat. “It’s a spiritual space, and a sacred place, but it’s open to anyone.”

But McRae vows to fight it.

“They wouldn’t dare put up the Ten Commandments or the cross of Christ, but they’re going to put up a red crescent,” he said. “We’re not going to stand idly by and allow this to happen.”

Several weblogs raised similar concerns about the design.

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs asked: “Is this a coincidence, an example of amazing cluelessness, or something more deliberate?”

Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters said, “Can you imagine the outcry from the multiculturalists and the ACLU had the design incorporated a cross or a Star of David in honor of the victims? Why should we tolerate the Crescent that, inadvertently or deliberately, honors the terrorists?

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