An outspoken cleric who described Islam as "satanic" is to attend a ground-breaking conference involving Muslim leaders, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

It is the first time firebrand preacher James McConnell has been invited to such an event, which will also include Jewish and Christian leaders.

Pastor McConnell, who is approaching his 80th birthday in May, is due to speak at the opening session of the event on Thursday week, March 9.

"It gives me an opportunity to put my views across," he said. "I have never been asked to participate in anything like this before. I was always treated like a pariah. But if I refused to go I would be accused of cowardice."

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