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UK Parliament denies Mufti of Egypt invited to address house

Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt on April 21, 2015 [REMKO DE WAAL/AFP via Getty Images]
Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt on April 21, 2015 [REMKO DE WAAL/AFP via Getty Images]

A spokeswoman for the British House of Commons said it has no information about Egypt's Grand Mufti Shawki Allam visiting the UK despite him saying he was invited to the country.

According to a report by Middle East Eye, the Grand Mufti of Egypt was not invited to speak in the British Parliament.

"Egyptian media reported on Sunday that Shawki Allam received an official welcome when arriving in the UK, where he was met by a delegation from the Home Office and was assigned a security detail. Egyptian media also published footage of a small motorcade escorting Allam to London," according to MEE.

However, Hannah Ollison, the House of Commons' media relations, told MEE that Parliament "has no further information" about Allam's visit to the UK.

The same website quoted an Egyptian source who said that Allam was "invited by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Egypt, an informal and cross-party group formed by MPs and members of the House of Lords who have an interest in Egypt."

They noted that the "APPGs have no official status within parliament."

A press release issued by Allam's office stated that the Mufti's visit came after an "official invitation from the British Parliament", and that he was "expected to deliver a speech before the House of Commons and House of Lords."

A post on the official Mufti's Facebook page yesterday stated that he delivered a "historic speech" in Parliament and showed a number of Egyptian government supporters waving flags and posters welcoming Allam.

READ: Egypt's Grand Mufti to UK says Brotherhood's roots same as Daesh

Allam's office claimed he was expected to meet "high-ranking UK officials and the Mayor of London."

According to the human rights organisation Amnesty International, Allam has ratified hundreds of death sentences since he was appointed Grand Mufti of Egypt in 2013, the year in which Egypt witnessed the coup against the rule of the first elected civilian president.

Since then, Egypt has executed people at an unprecedented rate, making it the third worst country in the world in terms of the number of executions in 2020, according to Amnesty International.

For its part, the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) said it was "appalled" when it learned that Allam had been invited to speak to Parliament.

Spokesman Mustafa Al-Dabbagh said: "This invitation is really unacceptable. We have to assume that everyone who invited him to the UK simply does not know the number of innocent deaths that this man personally facilitated."

"The invitation must be rescinded, and he must not be welcomed into our institutions," he said.

Middle East Eye contacted APPG and the Mayor of London's office for comment but had not received a response before the article was published.

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