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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 March 2006, 15:39 GMT
Tributes to 'noble' Muslim cleric
Zaki Badawi was a key figure in British Islam
Prince Charles has led tributes to influential Muslim cleric Zaki Badawi at a memorial service in London.

The prince, who was advised by Dr Badawi on Islamic issues, spoke in praise of his "noble, compassionate and far-sighted vision".

Christian and Jewish religious leaders also spoke at the service for the scholar, who died in January.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke called Dr Badawi "a great man with an immense international following".

Prince Charles compared Dr Badawi's death to the uprooting of a "beloved noble tree".

"Zaki had come to play such a vital role in the life of our country that his sudden and unexpected departure from within our midst has merely heightened our immense sense of real loss," he said.

'Deeply spiritual man'

Speaking at the service in the School of Oriental and African Studies, Home Secretary Charles Clarke said the UK owed an "immense amount" to the cleric.

"I think it is important on this occasion to celebrate his absolutely immense achievement for all faith communities and for the whole of this country," he said.

Dr Badawi showed that "being British led to no conflict with being Muslim" and his influence on Britain's relationship with Islam would be "profound", Mr Clarke added.

It is important on this occasion to celebrate his absolutely immense achievement
Home Secretary Charles Clarke

A former imam of Regent's Park Mosque in London and founder of the Muslim College, Dr Badawi forged close ties with Jewish and Christian leaders.

After the London bombings last July he was instrumental in uniting religious groups to denounce terrorist attacks and was consulted by the government on how best to tackle extremism.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, spoke at the service of a "deeply spiritual man" who had made his religious community seem "a perfectly normal part of British life".

And the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, paid tribute to Dr Badawi as "a man of wisdom and courage, of peace and moderation".

Obituary: Dr Zaki Badawi
24 Jan 06 |  UK

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