Saudi Grand Mosque imam denied entry to the UK

One of Islam’s highest ranked imams has claimed he was refused entry to the UK and prevented from boarding a plane.

The former imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah – the religion’s holiest mosque - Sheikh Adel Al Kalbani said he was stopped at King Khaled International Airport in the capital Riyadh despite having a UK visa issued in October by the British Embassy in Saudi Arabia.

“I was stopped at the door of the plane and told that the authorities received a message from the British Embassy saying that I was not allowed to enter Britain,” Al Kalbani told Arab News.

“I don’t really know why they denied me entry. I was in Britain about four years ago and other countries.”

Al Kalbani said he received no explanation why he was no longer allowed to enter the European country.

He had planned to visit the British Muslim community, which had arranged a series of events for him to meet people in various UK cities, including London.

“I was told that other Muslim scholars have also been denied entry and had their visas cancelled. My gut feeling is that they don’t want to see me interacting with the Muslim community there,” he was quoted as saying.

He said he would not re-apply for a UK visa.

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