Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 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)

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'.