Bin Laden book talk vetoed

An undated file photo shows al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan (AP Photo)

An undated file photo shows al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan (AP Photo)

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A talk by Manx author Robert Kermeen which was to have taken place in Onchan library has been vetoed by Onchan Commissioners who say it might offend the Muslim community.

Mr Kermeen, who was brought up in Onchan and taught for a time at Ramsey Grammar School but now lives in Alsager in Cheshire was to have spoken about his book called Bin Laden’s Nemesis, a novel that imagines that the al-Qaeda leader visited the island.

The talk was one of two he had arranged to do during a visit to the island soon.

The other is at Douglas library and will still go ahead but the one at Onchan, for which posters and flyers had already been prepared was axed at the 11th hour by deputy clerk Tim Craig.

Mr Craig said there were two principal reasons not to allow Mr Kermeen to give his talk at the library.

‘We were not certain that we were going to attract enough people to make it worth his while to give the presentation,’ he said.

Mr Craig said: ‘I have told him we were more than happy to direct people to Douglas.’

He said that an audience of around 15 to 20 people would normally justify the use of a room for such a talk.

He added that he ‘wasn’t comfortable’ with the artwork that he believed would illustrate the talk.

He said the artwork depicted Osama Bin Laden in front of the Laxey Wheel and that the talk would be taking place where local Muslims hold their Friday prayers.

Mr Kermeen said: ‘I had made it clear that I was happy to talk to as few as five or six.’

Mr Kermeen added the art work on the flyers had been produced by Onchan librarian Pam Herd, who has been helpful since agreeing to the talk in March.

‘There is no picture of Bin Laden in front of Laxey Wheel,’ he said.

In fact, the ‘photograph’ showing Bin Laden in front of the Laxey Wheel was mocked up by the Manx Independent to accompany an article last year about the book. Another mock-up put him in front of a horse tram.

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