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Why was Farrakhan banned from the UK in the first place

01:00 Thu 02nd Aug 2001 |

asks PDTV:

A. Louis Farrakhan is head of the Nation of Islam, a controversial black Muslim leader who was banned from this country because he preached hatred against whites - especially Jews.

Q. What is the Nation of Islam
A.
It's one of America's most militant black groups and has thousands of members in the UK. Among its aims is the creation of a separate African-American state in the US. It also emphasises social responsibility and the value of family life.

Q. Why is Farrakhan being allowed back into the UK
A.
Mr Justice Turner, who helped make legal history by quashing an exclusion order made by a home secretary, won't give his reasons until October, when the high resumes after the summer break.

However, it's not hard to guess at the reasons: Farrakhan's lawyers argued that the ban was a breach of the new Human Rights Act. One of the most fundamental rights set out in the new law is free speech.

Q. Is he likely to create racial unrest
A. Most pundits think not. In 1995, Farrakhan organised a mass rally in Washington - called the 'Million Man March'. In the end, there were 800,000 black men and it was a peaceful event.

As part of his case for being allowed back into the UK, Farrakhan has given an undertaking to the British consulate in Chicago not to jeopardise race relations in the UK and to conform with British domestic law. He has already done this with the governments of Australia and Canada and, according to his lawyers, there were no problem when he visited those countries, or on his visit to Israel.

Q. What do the authorities think
A.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews expressed disappointment that the ban had been quashed. Lord Janner, chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said that it was a sad day for people in Britain who work for good race relations. Beverley Hughes, a Home Office minister, said the Government was very disappointed' by the ruling and would be considering an appeal.

Q. Is anyone happy about it
A.
Yes, Hilary Muhammad, UK spokesman for the Nation of Islam expressed gratitude that their leader would be able to visit.

Also pleased about the decision is the American civil rights leader the Rev Jesse Jackson, who said, 'Whether it is the British leadership and the IRA sitting down to talk, or the ANC talking to the Afrikaners, or the PLO talking to the Israelis, we can only reconcile our differences when we allow to talk with each other and seek resolution.'

The official Nation of Islam website can be found here

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