Muslim Group Asks Radio Host to Apologize



Friday January 27, 2006 4:48 AM

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,,-5574360,00.html

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - A Muslim civil liberties group
demanded an apology Thursday 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
allegedly made fun of the deaths the same day they
happened during a segment he called the ``Annual
Stampede Report.'' 

A spokeswoman for KFI, which is owned by Clear Channel
Communications, did not immediately return a message
left Thursday. Handel's producer, Michelle Kube, also
did not return calls for comment. Handel had left work
for the day and attempts to reach him were
unsuccessful. 

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

According to the civil liberties group, Handel
imitated the 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
with the freeways. 

The group quoted 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.'' 

In March 2004, KFI issued an on-air apology after the
group filed a complaint with the Federal
Communications Commission following a skit that
claimed Muslims have sex with animals, don't bathe and
hate Jews. 

``The deaths of hundreds of people engaged in
religious observances is no laughing matter,'' Sabiha
Khan, the group's spokeswoman, said in a statement.
``KFI needs to distance itself from Mr. Handel's
unbelievable insensitivity by issuing a formal apology
and a reprimand.'' 





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