The US government is robustly denying the authenticity of the 'Shroud of bin Laden' reportedly on display at a secret location in the Tora Bora cave complex of Afghanistan.
Blurred photographs appearing on Islamist websites show a white bloodstained shroud with bullet holes.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it was being claimed that the shroud 'appeared to contain the shadowy figure of a man who, under ultra-violet light, could be Osama bin Laden or Jesus Christ, the British artist Rolf Harris, or anyone else with a straggly beard'.
Sources say that the shroud was 'acquired by a member of the crew, who hoped to make a fast buck, of the ship from which bin Laden's body was deposited into the Arabian Sea.'
Al-Qaeda expert Dr John Mason said the US was alarmed that the shroud could become a rallying point for Islamic extremists.
'Islamic morons, like Christian morons and the Turin Shroud, will be queuing up to touch the garment,' said Dr Mason,' and will take murderous inspiration from the encounter.'
Al-Qaeda operatives are said to be torn between denying bin Laden is dead and claiming the shroud's authenticity.
Turin Shroud experts say that if the shroud was once wrapped around bin Laden, an image could have been left on the cloth. 'Pictures of him just before his death suggest he wasn't the most hygienic of men and his sweat would have left an image.'
But on past experience establishing the authenticity of the Shroud of bin Laden could take about 2000 years.