An infidel calls for Reykjavik Mean Time

Thanks to Steven in Monterrey I learn that Muslim “scientists” and clerics meeting at a conference in Qatar have called for GMT to be replaced with Mecca Time, arguing that the Saudi city is the true centre of the Earth.

The clerics, by the way, include the esteemed scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi: friend of London Mayor Kenneth Livingstone, and would-be hanger of homosexuals. Lovely chap.

But as for this time business and Mecca, it says so in the Qu’ran, so it must be true. And to back this up with science, one geologist at the conference claimed that unlike other longitudes, Mecca’s was in perfect alignment with magnetic north.

Eh? This doesn’t make sense on a number of levels, and especially when one considers that the magnetic north pole is somewhat erratic, and wanders more than a nomadic Inuit with the itchiest of feet. On a daily basis the magnetic pole can move over 80 kilometres between midnight and noon. And since 1970 it has shifted northwards at more than 40 km/year. In five decades from now it could even end up in Siberia!

Not that science is needed to confirm the Muslim holy book, according to its devotees. Truth is, according to al-Qaradawi and his chums, the other way round. That is, “Ijaz al-Qu’ran” states that all scientific truths are revealed in the text, and it is the job of Muslim scholars to publicise the evidence. There is no need for formal scientific hypotheses; it’s all in the book, see.

Now I can understand how some people with long memories might object to having the prime meridian run through the capital city of one of the world’s historical centres of imperialism. But surely they can come up with a better argument for shifting the time reference than the reported wibblings of an illiterate Arabian goat herder.

I suggest that instead we move the zero degree line to Reykjavik. The Icelanders are not want to invade other’s territories, and have never been at war with anyone bar the whales. And added to this, their country sits on the oceanic boundary of the planet’s two greatest land masses.