04/22/2008, 00.00
QATAR

Muslims scholars want to replace Greenwich with Makkah Time

A proposal to replace GMT is made at a conference titled “Makkah, the Centre of the Earth, Theory and Practice” attended by Muslim clerics and scientists.

Doha (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Muslim scientists and clerics have called for the adoption of Makkah time in lieu of GMT, arguing that the Saudi city is the true centre of the Earth. The call was issued at a conference held in the Gulf state of Qatar under the title: Makkah, the Centre of the Earth, Theory and Practice.

One geologist at the Qatar conference said Makkah’s longitude is perfectly aligned with magnetic north and should therefore replace the English city, which has been measuring time zones since 1884, when the United Kingdom was a major colonial power, something that ought to change.

Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawya cleric, said modern science had at last provided evidence that Makkah 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.

Participants of the conference also reviewed the “Makkah Watch,” an invention by a French Muslim which reportedly rotates counter-clockwise and displays Makkah's direction from any point in the world.

The conference is part of a trend called “Ijaz al-Qur‘an” or “miraculous nature of the holy text,” which tries to find precedents for modern science from passages in the Qur‘an.

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