updated 11/4/2005 9:14:52 AM ET 2005-11-04T14:14:52

Britain lifted a 10-year-old ban that kept the Rev. Sun Myung Moon from entering the country, saying Friday that the controversial religious leader was unlikely to threaten public order.

The 85-year-old Moon, who calls himself a messiah and is known for conducting mass weddings, was scheduled to speak to followers of his Unification Church in London on Saturday.

Moon was banned from entering Britain in 1995, on the grounds that his presence would not be “conducive to the common good for reasons of public order.”

Britain’s Home Office said it had written to Moon advising that the exclusion had been lifted. “The Unification Church in the United Kingdom is extremely small and any visit by its founder is considered unlikely to pose any threat to the public order of this country,” the government department said in a statement.

Moon’s Unification Church owns hundreds of companies around the world, including media groups.

In 2004, Moon was the center of a coronation ceremony in Washington, D.C., at which he declared himself the Messiah and said his teachings had helped Hitler and Stalin be “reborn as new persons.”

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