- The Washington Times - Monday, January 30, 2006

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — A Muslim civil liberties group demanded an apology last week from the host of a Los Angeles-area radio show for making fun of a stampede that killed hundreds of Muslims during an annual pilgrimage.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations asked for an apology from KFI-AM 640 host Bill Handel, who reportedly made fun of the deaths the day that they happened during a segment he called the “Annual Stampede Report.”

At least 363 pilgrims were killed and hundreds were injured in a stampede Jan. 12 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where thousands of people were rushing to carry out a symbolic ritual of stoning the devil.

“The deaths of hundreds of people engaged in religious observances is no laughing matter,” said Sabiha Khan, the group’s spokeswoman.

The group said Mr. Handel imitated people screaming and then joked that the Muslims at the pilgrimage should use a helicopter to monitor pilgrimage traffic, as is done in Los Angeles.

The group quoted Mr. Handel as saying: “This is Mahmoud Nolan. Hajj in the Sky. There is an accident. … Ali lost his sandal on the on-ramp to the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway.”

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