The planned crescent-shaped “memorial to heroes” of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania is nothing less than a huge outdoor mosque that pays homage to Islam, charges the author of a new book.

Alec Rawls’ “Crescent of Betrayal: Dishonoring the Heroes of Flight 93,” published by World Ahead, documents a long list of Islamic and terrorist memorializing features in the Flight 93 National Memorial.

The primary feature, he says, is the giant central crescent of what originally was called the “Crescent of Embrace” design. A person facing into this half-mile wide crescent – still present in the superficially altered “Bowl of Embrace” redesign – will be oriented almost exactly at Mecca.

That is significant, Rawls said, because a crescent that Muslims face to point them in the direction of Mecca – called a “mihrab” – is the central feature around which every mosque is built.

A proposal for the memorial

Rawls said it seems impossible such startling revelations could go unreported, but Pennsylvania newspapers have ignored him.

He learned from a reporter at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that editors knew about the Mecca orientation of the giant crescent in September 2005 when the design was first unveiled. But the editors decided the information should not be published, accusing critics of being paranoid bigots.

“Like those who look at innocent kids trick-or-treating at Halloween and see only the devil’s work,” wrote the editors at the time, “a few small and suspicious minds couldn’t look past the crescent to see a remarkably sensitive design.”

Rawls said he’s been battling the same mentality for the past year and a half. He plans to be at a meeting Saturday when the design will be submitted for final approval.

“I’ll be there, demanding that this desecration of sacred ground be stopped,” he said.

Defenders of the “Crescent of Embrace” design, Rawls contended, “choose their side first, then avoid or suppress all contrary reason and evidence.”

“That, of course, is the essence of how political correctness works, and why it is a threat to all of us,” he said.

Rawls claims leaders of the project countered his information by lying to the Flight 93 families.

In an April 2006 conference call, Memorial Project Superintendent Joanne Hanley told Rawls she was not concerned about the Mecca orientation because it’s not “exact.”

“That’s one we talked about,” she said. “It has to be exact.”

At the same time, however, according to Rawls, “she was telling the Flight 93 families that my claims had been investigated and debunked.”

“Whenever I succeeded in making a news issue of the Mecca orientation of the crescent, the project would send out a family member to say that I was spreading known falsehoods,” said Rawls. “But it’s an easy matter to check the orientation of the crescent. Were I lying, a smart reporter could expose me as a fraud in five minutes. It took me a year and a half to get a reporter to take me up on that offer.”

Rawls gave Kirk Swauger of the Johnstown Tribune Democrat the address of an Islamic website – – that has a Mecca direction calculator.

“While I was on the phone with him, Kirk set the calculator to Somerset, Pa., 10 miles from the crash site, and clicked the ‘view qibla direction’ button. When he placed the resulting Mecca-direction graphic over the original Crescent of Embrace site plan, Kirk said to me: ‘Yup. It points to Mecca.'”

Swauger said he would include the verification in his news story, but it never appeared, Rawls recounted.

“Instead, the Tribune Democrat did what it’s been doing for the last year and a half: quoting critics who claim that my information is bogus while omitting results of the most basic fact checking.”

Rawls said western Pennsylvania newspapers have been in a “virtual state of war” with him over the past two weeks as they report 9/11 family members accuse him of spreading falsehoods. Meanwhile, he is running large, full-color ads in the Somerset Daily American, “providing readers with graphical proof” the memorial is actually a huge, outdoor mosque.

Another feature, he says, is a separate section of the wall – centered exactly on the bisector of the giant crescent – that is in the exact position of the star on an Islamic flag.

He says there also are 44 inscribed glass blocks placed along the path that Flight 93 followed to the ground, matching the number of passengers, crew – and terrorists.

As WND reported in September 2005, Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., sent a letter to the Interior Department, asking officials to reconsider the “Crescent of Embrace” design due to the symbol’s ties to Islam.

“It has raised questions in some circles about whether the design, if constructed, will in fact make the memorial a tribute to the hijackers rather than the victims whose mission the flight’s passengers helped to thwart,” wrote Tancredo in a letter to Fran Mainella, director of the National Park Service. “Regardless of whether or not the invocation of a Muslim symbol by the memorial designer was intentional or not, it seems that such a symbol is unsuitable for paying appropriate tribute to the heroes of Flight 93 or the ensuing American struggle against radical Islam that their last historic act and the ‘Let’s Roll’ effort has come to symbolize.”

A Pennsylvania pastor also fought the design.

“This is a memorial to the terrorists who killed those people, not a memorial to the folks who died there innocently,” said Rev. Ron McRae, head of the Bible Anabaptist Church near Jerome, Pa., about 55 miles from Pittsburgh.

Related offer:

“Crescent of Betrayal: Dishonoring the Heroes of Flight 93”

Previous stories:

Congressman: Reject ‘Crescent’ 9/11 memorial

Flight 93 victims honored with Muslim Crescent?

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