Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Catholic church officials pull 'Osama bin Laden memorial Mass' after online hoax

Osama bin Laden is seen in this undated photo taken from a television image. (Photo by Getty Images)
A man that the United States claims is Osama bin Laden is seen watching television in video footage released by the US government
Crowds celebrate on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, early Monday, May 2, 2011, after President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Irish church officials have been left red-faced after announcing plans for an Osama bin Laden memorial Mass.

Howth parish in Dublin yesterday hastily withdrew an online newsletter advertising plans to dedicate a Mass to the man credited with masterminding the 9/11 attacks on New York's twin towers.

The newsletter had stated the Mass would be held at 10am this Thursday in the Church of the Assumption in memory of "Osama bin Laden (recently deceased)".

Church officials removed the online notice after being alerted by the public.

A spokeswoman for the Catholic press office confirmed there will not be a Mass in honour of the former al-Qa'ida leader.

"It is not really clear what happened," she said, adding the incident may have been the result of "a mistake or a hoax or a prank".

Requests to have a Mass said in memory of a deceased relative or friend are made to parish offices every day and it is possible a prank request was made and somehow included in the parish newsletter, she added.

Meanwhile, an Irish sitcom writer has found himself the subject of unlikely speculation about Bin Laden's taste in TV.

Internet rumours suggested that videos of a TV series written by Graham Linehan were found in Bin Laden's Pakistani hideout after he was killed there last week.

But Linehan, who is best known for co-writing 'Father Ted', fuelled much of the speculation himself.

He had put out an online appeal to try and confirm whether a copy of 'The IT Crowd' was found during the raid by US forces.

However, he later said that it was not his show Bin Laden was watching, but rather the US comedy 'The Big Bang Theory'.

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