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Saturday, 13 October, 2001, 04:50 GMT 05:50 UK
Charles dined with Bin Laden's brother
Prince Charles at the Suleymaniye Mosque in east London
Charles had pledged his support of UK muslims
Prince Charles had dinner with Osama bin Laden's brother - two weeks after the US terror attacks.

The event in support of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, had been organised months before 11 September, St James's Palace said.

A spokeswoman said the prince had met Saudi businessman Bakr Bin Laden to discuss the Islamic faith.

Osama Bin Laden's family disowned him several years ago.

Centre patron

Charles is patron of the centre for Islamic studies with which the Bin Laden family has links.

A palace spokeswoman confirmed that the meeting had taken place.

Osama Bin Laden
Bin Laden: Disowned by his family
She said of the centre: "It is a recognised centre which promotes greater understanding of the Islamic faith and the arrangement was made months ago."

She was unsure exactly how Bakr and Osama Bin Laden were related.

"It is a very, very big family and my understanding is that this particular member of the family is referred to as a brother but may not actually be his brother," she said.

She was unable to confirm whether the meeting had taken place at Highgrove.

First meeting

The Daily Telegraph has reported that the prince first met Bakr Bin Laden last June at a London exhibition and was introduced by a Saudi prince.

Bakr subsequently attended a banquet in honour of Charles in Riyadh, the paper said.

He and some of his brothers run the family's construction business.

Charles has long demonstrated a keen interest in Islam.

Since 11 September Prince Charles has attended services in memory of the victims of the US terror attacks.

He was among those dignitaries who attended St Paul's Cathedral for a service days after the atrocities.

He met friends and colleagues of financial workers who died in the attacks when he visited the London offices of Cantor Fitzgerald - the firm worst affected by the strike on New York's World Trade Center.

The company lost more than 700 employees in the atrocities.

And he visited an east London mosque to reiterate his support for the UK Muslim community.

The BBC's Jennie Bond
"This was a finely balanced exercise"

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See also:

14 Sep 01 | Business
Cantor grieves for lost staff
28 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Net freedom fears 'hurt terror fight'
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