Monday, April 21, 2008

But They Don't Want to Conquer the World, Right?

Hey, infidels ... it's Mecca Time!

Muslim scientists and clerics have called for the adoption of Mecca time to replace GMT, arguing that the Saudi city is the true centre of the Earth.

Mecca is the direction all Muslims face when they perform their daily prayers.

The call was issued at a conference held in the Gulf state of Qatar under the title: Mecca, the Centre of the Earth, Theory and Practice.

One geologist argued that unlike other longitudes, Mecca's was in perfect alignment to magnetic north.
He said the English had imposed GMT on the rest of the world by force when Britain was a big colonial power, and it was about time that changed.

There is something distinctly comical about a civilization that hasn't made a contribution to science since the eleventh century (and whose members find even that too modern for their tastes) demanding to have its religious capital recognized the center for world time. However, given the behavior of so, so many Muslims, it seems unlikely they meant this humorously.

Indeed, much like the misguided creationists of the West, these Muslims are very serious indeed.

A prominent cleric, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawy, said modern science had at last provided evidence that Mecca was the true centre of the Earth; proof, he said, of the greatness of the Muslim "qibla" - the Arabic word for the direction Muslims turn to when they pray.

The meeting also reviewed what has been described as a Mecca watch, the brainchild of a French Muslim.

The watch is said to rotate anti-clockwise and is supposed to help Muslims determine the direction of Mecca from any point on Earth.

The meeting in Qatar is part of a popular trend in some Muslim societies of seeking to find Koranic precedents for modern science.

It is called "Ijaz al-Koran", which roughly translates as the "miraculous nature of the holy text".

The underlying belief is that scientific truths were also revealed in the Muslim holy book, and it is the work of scholars to unearth and publicise the textual evidence.

Once upon a time, the Soviets liked to claim that Russians had actually invented everything from radio to blue jeans and that Western claims to the contrary were just bourgeoisie lies. Soviet science quickly went the same way as their economy.

Muslim aspirations to have Mecca replace Greenwich would be amusing, if it weren't for their little habit of using threats and violence to get their way. If I were the British Prime Minister, I'd start installing bomb detectors and concrete barricades at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich.


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