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Mecca's First Imam in secret talks with East London council leaders

PUBLISHED: 21:51 27 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:43 05 October 2010

Kabul Iman, visits Tower Hamlets Town Hall, East London, UK October 27, 2008

Kabul Iman, visits Tower Hamlets Town Hall, East London, UK October 27, 2008

Carmen Valino

THE First Imam of Mecca was in London's East End today (Monday) to meet local council leaders for a "private meeting" at Tower Hamlets and conduct prayers for Town Hall staff. Later, thousands of Muslim worshippers heard Sheikh Adil Al-Kalbani speak after evening prayers at the huge East London mosque

By Aman Pattar

THE First Imam of Mecca was in London’s East End today (Monday) to meet local council leaders for a “private meeting” at Tower Hamlets and conduct prayers for Town Hall staff.

Later, thousands of Muslim worshippers heard Sheikh Adil Al-Kalbani speak after evening prayers at the huge East London mosque.

The sheikh arrived at the council’s Anchorage House HQ in Blackwall at lunchtime and led the prayers before emerging in his white robe with gold lining, accompanied by council leader Lutfur Rahman and others to walk the few yards to the Town Hall next door for the meeting behind closed doors.

His entourage rushed him into the building past a waiting photographer—despite the sheikh indicating he was willing to meet the local press.

The Town Hall remained tight lipped about the meeting and would not disclose what was being discussed.

Council public relations bosses refused to say anything about the talks or the reason for the sheikh’s visit to Tower Hamlets—except that it was “a private meeting.”

Tonight, Sheikh Al-Kalbani arrived at the East London Mosque in Whitechapel, which is planning an expansion programme, to led the evening prayers before addressing the congregation estimated at around 4,000.

Al-Kalbani was in London as guest speaker at Sunday’s Global Peace and Unity event, the largest Muslim conference of its kind in Europe, which was held at the Excel centre in Canning Town.

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