Louis Farrakhan UK ban overturned
Tuesday, 31 July, 2001, 19:24 GMT 20:24 UK
Farrakhan UK ban overturned
Louis Farrakhan's views have sparked concern
Controversial US black political leader Louis Farrakhan has won his High
Court battle for the right to visit the UK.
The Nation of Islam leader has been excluded from Britain since 1986.
Mr Justice Turner, sitting in the High Court in London, ruled on Tuesday
that the ban must be quashed.
Mr Farrakhan, 67, will not be able to come to the UK until after the judge
outlines his reasons for his decision on 1 October.
Nation of Islam representatives were at court for the ruling
The government is deciding whether to appeal against the ruling which
overturns a ban imposed by successive home secretaries.
Mr Farrakhan, who is suffering from cancer, challenged last November's
decision by the then Home Secretary Jack Straw to maintain the ban.
In November Mr Straw justified upholding the ban imposed on the grounds that
Mr Farrakhan had expressed "anti-Semitic and racially divisive views".
Lawyers for Mr Farrakhan argued that the ban was unlawful in interfering
with the leader's right to speak with his UK supporters about spiritual
values for the black community.
And they said the ban was contrary to the Human Rights Act and the common
Home Office minister Beverley Hughes said the government was "very
disappointed" by the ruling and would be considering an appeal.
"We believe that it is the home secretary's right to defend the social
cohesion and racial harmony of this country," she said.
David Liddington, shadow home affairs spokesman, shared the government's
"I find it extraordinary that the judge is not prepared to give his reasons
for his decision for a further two months," he said.
But Hilary Muhammad, UK spokesman for the Nation of Islam has welcomed the
"Now the citizens of UK will have a chance in the near future to see, hear
and judge the honourable Minister Louis Farrakhan for themselves," he said.
Mr Muhammad, who was at the High Court on Thursday for the decision, said
that Muslims were grateful that their leader would be able to come to the UK
to offer guidance.
And Sadiq Khan, the solicitor representing the Nation of Islam, described
the judge's decision as "very brave and sensible".
"There was no evidence at all that any of his other trips to countries
around the world, including Israel .... had led to any problems whatsoever,"
he told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme.
Indeed he said that Mr Farrakhan had promised the British consulate in
Chicago as well as the Canadian and Australian governments that he would
respect and obey domestic laws and not do anything to damage race relations.
But the Director of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Neville Nagler,
was among those who condemned the decision.
He told BBC News Online: "We remain concerned that his presence in this
country, with his message of racial segregation, will in the current climate
do more harm than good to race relations."
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