Opponents Criticize Flight 93 Memorial for Using Islamic Symbols

Published May 04, 2008

| FoxNews.com

Opponents of the proposed United Airlines Flight 93 memorial say they're outraged by a proposed design they say looks like Islamic symbols to commemorate victims in Shanksville, Pa. on September 11th.

They believe the design — a broken circle lined with trees outlining the crash — looks likes an Islamic crescent that points toward Mecca, the Muslim holy city.

Opponents presented a petition filled with 5,300 signatures to stop construction of the memorial in a joint meeting of the Flight 93 Memorial Task Force at the Somerset County Courthouse.

The controversy over the memorial site began when the Flight 93 Advisory Commission announced a memorial design from Paul Murdoch Architects of Los Angles called "Crescent of Embrace," that included a crescent of maple trees around the crash site.

Some critics say its crescent-shaped design call to mind Islam or subtly include the hijackers alongside the passengers and crew.

The National Park Service, which is managing the construction of the memorial, denied those claims, but changed the design to more of a circle, and dropped the name.

Click here to read more about the Flight 93 memorial and its design.

Still Tom Burnett, Sr. whose son Tom, Jr. died in flight is demanding more changes be made. "Its a terrible insult to my son and the others on that flight its an awful insult to in anyway reach out to the people who took over, hijacked that plane."

But not everyone agrees. Gordon Felt whose brother, Edward, was a also a passenger on Flight 93, said he and the majority of family members support the proposed design.

"I was outraged, for anyone to infer that family members who have been such an integral part of this process have been in any way involved in memorializing the murderers of our loved ones. I find that extremely offensive."

In a written response to FOX News about accusations that the design is ridden with "Islamic symbolism," architect Paul Murdoch said that he sees this as a "distortion of the facts" and that what continues to grow is "overwhelming support for the design."

Construction plans are moving forward as planned on the site, which is currently adorned with American flags, croses and plaques to honor the victims.

The memorial, which will be built in three phases, will allow visitors to get close to the crash site, according to the National Park Service. It will also include a plaza that extends along the edge of the crash site, with a ceremonial wall and drop-off to separate visitors from the site.

FOX News' Laura Ingle and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/05/04/opponents-criticize-flight-3-memorial-for-using-islamic-symbols