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Wednesday, May 28, 2008 |
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.
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.
Not only are the artists handpicked practitioners in storytelling, arts, crafts, Middle-Eastern music, and dance ― they are equally experienced as workshop educators to adults and children.
It’s not often religion and fashion come together to create a successful business, but that is what’s happening at the Islamic Design House. Based in Mile End, in the east end of London, just a few miles from where its founders grew up, this enterprise aims to take the best of Western creativity and match it to the elegant calligraphy and modest style of the East and Islam.
Junayd Miah, who runs the growing online outlet with several partners, says the idea behind the business stems from his days as a student. “Studying economics and politics, then spending three years as a scholar of Islam and the Arabic language, proved to be a turning point in my life. For the first time, my mind was opened up to the rest of the world, as well as to my faith, and I began to question my role in both. It was quite profound.”
Fresh from this epiphany, the 29-year-old bumped into an old friend, Harun Rashid. They and three other friends realised no one was producing fashionable, attractive clothing for young women that adhered to the Muslim code of modesty. “We are part of a special group as second- or third-generation Muslims living in Britain,” says Miah. “We’re brought up in the West, but steeped in a culture that’s rooted in the East.
No one was catering for both.”
So the friends put together a business plan and found a factory in Bangladesh that would produce the small runs they required. They then extended their ideas to men’s fashion, finding a way to reference Islam on westernised casualwear. “I wear jeans and hoodies, but I wanted them to reflect my identity as a Muslim,” says Miah.”
With sweatshirts, jilbabs and hijabs in a variety of unusual colours and materials, they were ready to found Silk Route, named for the ancient road that links the East to the West.
With the label selling well through wholesalers around London, the team decided to widen the net and, through St Martin’s College of Art and Design, began collaborating with two more designers. Working under the labels Aerosol Arabic and Visual Dikhr, both designers shared the same vision as Miah and his partners.
The result is a growing collection of original, affordable fashionwear, homewear and jewellery – from vases etched with Kufic script to delicate glass headscarf pins and bold art prints that blend street graffiti with traditional calligraphy. The Islamic Design House is not stopping there, however, and Miah’s grand plan includes flagship stores in London and major Muslim cities before moving onto North America and France.
Miah hopes their unique brand will act as a positive force. “Like the Silk Route, which has long been about people from different parts of the world interacting, we want to embrace Eastern and Western cultures. This is building bridges.”
Kate Riordan; portrait by Gemma Day
Ruh: Junayd is probably one of the most hardworking, dedicated, self-less, visionary people I have had the pleasure of working with.
Many people also do not get to see the other members of the IDH team who make the whole thing run so smoothly and efficiently, but deserve to be credited too.
May Allah raise them all in rank, give them success and accept their sincere efforts, amin.