Jumping at shadows.
In any case, rather than spend time hashing out the thing in New York, allow me to draw your attention to an even dumber thing happening in Pennsylvania, where a small group is protesting the memorial for Flight 93 because... well... I'll let you read for yourself:
Since 2005, when plans for the Flight 93 National Memorial were unveiled, a group of critics, including the father of one of the heroes who died, have protested loudly that the memorial's design is rife with Islamic symbols. They haven't wavered in their protest -- even though some design elements have been changed -- and they plan to run a full-page ad opposing the design in a local newspaper on Friday and Saturday, when the nation will pause to remember September 11.
At the center of the dispute is the Field of Honor, a circular, tree-lined landmass that will serve as the "heart" of the memorial, as well as a 93-foot Tower of Voices that will contain 40 wind chimes, one for each victim of the crash. Forty groves of red and sugar maple trees also will commemorate the victims, and ponds will be installed to serve as a natural barrier to the nearby Sacred Ground, the final resting place for the passengers and crew of Flight 93.
The newspaper ad -- paid for by Tom Burnett Sr., whose 38-year-old son died in the crash, and Alec Rawls, author of "Crescent of Betrayal: Dishonoring the Heroes" -- revives their claim that the memorial's Field of Honor clearly resembles an Islamic crescent and star, and that the entire site is orientated toward Mecca.
And what do you even do with something like that? If you're curious you can see the National Park Service's complete description of the project but, in short, to me it looks nothing like an Islamic symbol. Or, really, anything else aside from a relatively tasteful if modern memorial site. Perhaps I'm missing a subtle sign? Maybe I'm misinterpreting some secret gnostic element that reveals the full Islamic glory?
"A more obvious tribute to the terrorists is hard to imagine," reads the ad, which will be published in the Somerset Daily American and was provided in advance to FoxNews.com. "It is not surprising, then, that the giant crescent would turn out to point to Mecca, and be the centerpiece for the world's largest mosque." [emphasis added]
"...hard to imagine"? Seriously? If that's what they think, then it seems to me that they are seriously lacking in the kind of imagination that it takes to make an excellent conspiracy theorist. I mean, I've read Graham Hancock and these guys are no Graham Hancock.* I mean, hell, wouldn't a more "obvious tribute" be a 30-foot statue of Osama bin Ladin? But let's leave that aside in favor of the loony cherry on top of the crazy sunday:
If left unchanged, Rawls said, the memorial will ultimately serve as a government-built "Ground Zero mosque" in Pennsylvania. "This is the architect's plan," he told FoxNews.com. "This is what he wanted. To not recognize what the architect is doing here is nuts. This is state establishment of religion."
And how does one even respond to that? It's an accusation that the unnamed architect** is deliberately incorporating Islamic symbols because... um... well, who knows why? Anyway, it's that accusation followed by a hysterical claim that building a memorial that isn't consecrated to any religious group, is not owned by any religious group, and does not contain religious imagery, is the establishment of religion. I think it's clear that some folks really don't understand what the "establishment of religion" really entails.
Now, in all truth, I don't want to say that these are bad people. Some of the leaders lost family on Flight 93 and I suspect they're acting partly out of grief. Likewise, most of the families of Flight 93 seem to be in support of the memorial. I just think it's a shame that out of love for those we've lost, some folks are trying to make an enemy of an entire religion.
Because, unfortunately, that's exactly what Osama wants.
* Reading his book "Fingerprints of the Gods" can be good for a laugh, though, if you find logical fallacies amusing.
** And frankly I'm glad he or she is unnamed given what's going on.