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UK Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Muslim Leaders Invited To Royal Wedding


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
LONDON: Leaders of Hindu, Muslim, Jain and Sikh religions in Britain are among nearly 2,000 people on Friday's royal wedding guest list that has already generated controversy over the presence and absence on it of some individuals.

Among those invited to attend the high-profile wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton are Anil Bhanot, one of the founding members of Hindu Council UK; Natubhai Shah, President of the Jain Academy; and Indarjit Singh, Director of the Network Sikh Organisations (UK).

Other religious leaders invited include Imam Mohammad Raza, the Chief Rabbi (Lord Sacks); Bogoda Seelawimala, Acting Head Monk of the London Buddhist Vihara; and Maulana Syed Raza Shabbarm of the Muhammadi Trust.

Former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have not been invited to the royal wedding, while Margaret Thatcher and John Major figure prominently on the guest list.

However, Labour leader Ed Miliband and his partner Justine Thornton have been invited.

John Major was appointed a guardian to Prince William and Prince Harry with responsibility for legal and administrative matters when Diana died in 1997.

The Foreign Office found itself at the centre of a human rights row over the guest list, with protests planned outside Westminster Abbey and five-star hotels because of invitations to foreign despots and figureheads from autocratic regimes.

The Crown Prince of Bahrain was forced to pull out of attending the wedding, hours before he had been due to fly in to London, amid anger over his role in the Gulf state's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

Human rights activists had pledged to disrupt Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa's stay in Britain with a series of protests, alleging that he was the chief architect of the Saudi-backed security forces' violent response to the demonstrators.

The Bahrain prince wrote to the Prince of Wales apologising for withdrawing, which he described as a matter of "deep regret".

He said he had left the decision "for as long as possible in the sincere hope that ongoing events - resulting from recent unrest in the Kingdom of Bahrain - might have improved, leaving me able to join the celebrations without being overshadowed by issues in Bahrain."

The royal wedding event is likely to see some protests because of the presence of Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohamed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz; Zimbabwe's ambassador to the UK Gabriel Machinga; and the King of Swaziland Mswati III over human rights abuses in their countries.




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