Muslim cleric Badawi dies at 83

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The influential Muslim cleric Dr Zaki Badawi died yesterday, aged 83. Tributes were led by the Prince of Wales, who said the imam, who called for British Muslims to participate fully in British life, had been a "truly remarkable and warm-hearted man".

Dr Badawi died in hospital at about 11am but was not thought to have suffered a long-term illness.

Prince Charles said in a statement: "His brand of wisdom, scholarship, far-sightedness and above all humour has ensured that Zaki played an extraordinarily important role in the life of this country."

Dr Badawi was an imam of Regent's Park Mosque in London and forged close ties with Jewish and Christian leaders. He was instrumental in uniting faith groups following the London bombings last year.

But he sparked controversy a month later when he urged women to stop wearing Islamic veils amid fears of a backlash against the Muslim community.

Ahmed J Versi, editor of The Muslim News, said: "His devotion to interfaith dialogue was unparalleled."

Sir Jonathan Sacks, the chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, said: "He was a man of conscience and courage and I cherished his friendship."