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Thu 19 Dec 2013 11:46 AM

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Saudi Grand Mosque imam denied entry to the UK

A former imam of the holiest mosque in Islam claims he was stopped from boarding a plane to the UK, despite having a visa

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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RAH 6 years ago

What a shame to see.

We have Chrisitian priests visit many GCC countries on a continious basis. Would have nice to see a top Muslim scholar visit fellow muslims in the UK to help sit with them and give them advice and quidance.

More often that not, the Muslims in foreign and christian lands tend to get homesick and, as such, they would turn to more hardline religious thinking. Having this cleric visit them could help them get questions answered and prevent these communities from adopting any terrorist-linked thoughts for which they think is allows when, in reality, it is not condoned by Islam.