SHOPPERS were stunned when Asians celebrating Eid drove through Accrington town centre dressed as terrorist chief Osama Bin Laden and former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain.
One man angrily complained to police as the cavalcade of three cars swept along Blackburn Road last Friday, with drivers honking their horns and waving to passers-by.
A man was leaning out of the window of the first car with a video camera, filming two men in the second car who wore Saddam and Bin Laden masks. The incident took place during the Eid festival, which marks the end of Ramadan, the month when Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset.
A 24-year-old man who witnessed the bizarre scene said: "I was parked in town when I heard these car horns blaring and they just kept getting louder. Then I looked up and the cars were there.
"The guys inside were laughing and one of them was filming the others, who were leaning out of the windows. They were driving very slowly, between two and three miles an hour, like they were in a parade. They were waving but nobody was cheering. Everyone was asking what was going on."
The man, who did not want to be named, added: "After the terrorist incidents in London it could easily have offended people. I thought it was very insensitive and aggressive.
"I wasn't happy about it and I phoned the police to complain. It could easily have stirred up trouble and violence."
Former Hyndburn Labour councillor Sardar Ali said: "I have not heard about this incident and it is not something I have heard of happening before.
"The people involved may not be local people. They could be outsiders trying to stir people up and this is something we condemn."
Sergeant Bob Eaton of Accrington Police said: "If a person was so offended that he wanted to make a formal complaint, the matter would be investigated. We would then make an objective decision on whether that bad taste was an offence against the Public Order Act.
"In the meantime, it is important that we do not allow one incident to overshadow the fact that the Eid celebrations were otherwise enjoyed peacefully and without antagonism between our communities."