CULVER CITY, Calif., (AP) -Activists protesting radical Islam conducted a mock hanging of Osama bin Laden across the street from a mosque on the eve of the anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks.
With a crowd of about 100 people shouting “Remember 9-11!” and “No more Jihad!” two men on the back of a pickup truck Sunday slipped a noose around the neck of a dummy wearing a bin Laden mask and strung it up, while the crowd pelted the effigy with shoes.
The protest near the King Fahd Mosque was organized by the United American Committee, a group that says it promotes awareness of internal threats facing America.
About 70 counter-protesters described the mosque as a peaceful center for area Muslims and yelled “Racists go home!” during the ritual. A group of clergy joined hands with some of the mosque’s worshippers and stood in a circle in front of the mosque.
“I think it’s crazy,” said mosque spokesman Usman Madha. “We have never encouraged extremism. We were the first mosque that condemned the Sept. 11 atrocities and we kicked out a few people that protested that condemnation.”
The United American Committee claimed the mosque supports radical Islam. A report from the Sept. 11 commission said investigators believed two of the hijackers had visited the mosque after arriving in the United States in 2000.
There were several heated exchanges as protesters crossed the street to confront one another, but no violence and no arrests, Culver City police said.