Yeah, Whatever…

Apparently Mecca should eclipse Greenwich.

But now the supremacy of Greenwich Mean Time is being challenged by a gargantuan new clock being built in Mecca, by which the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims could soon be setting their watches.

Due to start ticking on Thursday as the faithful begin fasting during the month of Ramadan, the timepiece sits atop the Royal Mecca Clock Tower which dominates Islam’s holiest city.

So much so what, frankly.

But Islamic scholars hope the clock’s influence will stretch far further than the sands of Saudi Arabia, as part of a plan for Mecca to eclipse the Greenwich Observatory as the “true centre of the earth”.

Except that, Greenwich has never claimed to be the centre of the Earth. It is on the meridian, 0o longitude.

You have to have a measurement from somewhere and this is as good as any.

For the past 125 years, the international community has accepted that the start of each day should be measured from the prime meridian, representing 0 degrees longitude, which passes through the Greenwich Observatory.

A standard time by which other clocks were set was needed to organise global travel and communications…

So what’s the problem?

…but in the Islamic world the idea that it should be centred on a part of London is seen as a colonial anachronism.

Oh, please!

As Mohammed al-Arkubi, manager of one of the hotels in the complex, put it: “Putting Mecca time in the face of Greenwich Mean Time. This is the goal.”

Along with a global caliphate, no doubt. Well they can stick that one where the sun don’t shine. I’ll be sticking with GMT thanks very much.

According to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric known around the Muslim world for his popular television show “Sharia and Life”, Mecca has a greater claim to being the prime meridian because it is “in perfect alignment with the magnetic north.”

Go on… You made that up, didn’t you?

Western scientists have challenged such assertions, noting that the Magnetic North Pole is in actual fact on a line of longitude that passes through Canada, the United States, Mexico and Antarctica.

Islam, the religion of idiocy.


  1. I thought GMT had been replaced, by UTC as an international standard? (although, to all intents and purposes, its GMT by another name)

  2. In fairness to the good Egyptian cleric, he made no mention of longitude, merely claiming that Mecca was ‘perfectly aligned’ with magnetic north. Whatever that means.
    No doubt he will be sorely distressed when he learns that the magnetic pole is not fixed, but moves. In 2001 it was over Ellesmere Island in Canada, but was last seen heading for Russia at about 40 miles per year. Which will make his ‘perfect alignment’ transitory at best.

    And I’d think the clocks cheerleaders might need to have a long chat with the IERS – the International Earth Rotation Service about UTC and the like. That’s if they have the time, of course

  3. I fear that the Meccan authorities have dropped a bit of a clanger here. Instead of using Big Ben to demonstrate their obvious 13th century superiority to us, they should have used the astronomical clock in Wenceslas Square.

    Instead of the figures of Death, the 12 Apostles, and various stargazers appearing on the hour, they could have had a group of mullahs stoning a rape victim, followed by a group of gay men hanged from cranes, then a mob of foam-flecked Pakistanis burning some western politician in effigy, a group of Guardian journalists wearing sackcloth and ashes and wringing their hands, and finally a western government minister handing out cheques as fast as he can sign them.

    If they go with my suggestion, I’ll be billing them.

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