N.C. commissioner says Bin Laden's sea burial was undeserved

The Charlotte ObserverMay 3, 2011 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mecklenburg commissioner Bill James sparked criticism Monday with an email in which he wrote Osama bin Laden's body should have been put on public display and "disrespected - defecated on - (and) urinated on."

The remarks came one day after the al-Qaida leader was killed after a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan, and hours after his body was placed in the northern Arabian Sea.

Pentagon officials said bin Laden's body was first prepared under traditional Islamic procedures, but some clerics said the burial at sea was a violation of the religion's tradition. Others also have raised questions about the burial.

James said he doesn't think bin Laden deserved a religious ceremony, and suggested it could even encourage more terrorist activity.

James said bin Laden should have been treated more like dictator Benito Mussolini, who was fatally shot by other Italians before his body was hung in a public area. "When you have a monster, you deny that monster any and all human dignity," James said in an interview. "You don't give it to Hitler, you don't give it to Mussolini and you don't give it to Osama."

James said he received emails from many who agreed with his remarks, but he also drew criticism on talk radio and elsewhere Monday.

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