BBC News UK Nation of Islam leader ban 'unlawful'
Thursday, 12 July, 2001, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Nation of Islam leader ban 'unlawful'
Mr Farrakhan has been barred from the UK since 1986
A ban preventing the head of the Nation of Islam entering the UK has been
condemned in the High Court as "an unlawful and disproportionate
Louis Farrakhan has been excluded from Britain since 1986 as successive home
secretaries feared a visit would stir up racial unrest.
His lawyers are challenging a decision made by Jack Straw when he was Home
Secretary last November to maintain the ban.
It was thought that if Mr Farrakhan came to Britain it would pose a
"significant threat to community relations" as he had made "anti-Semitic and
racially divisive views".
Nicholas Blake QC, appearing for Mr Farrakhan, told the High Court in London
that he was authorised to express regret for things Mr Farrakhan had said in
But he said that some of his comments may have been taken "somewhat out of
context" and he has now "moved on".
Over the years Mr Farrakhan has made "sensitive remarks" about blacks and
Jews, but now recognised and regretted the offence and hurt caused to the
Some of his past messages to his followers have been enormously
controversial, for example calling Judaism a 'nation of vipers'
Jan Shure, Jewish Chronicle
Mr Farrakhan's present message that he wants to bring to the UK concerns
"self reliance, dignity and discipline".
The first indication by Mr Straw that he was "minded" to continue Mr
Farrakhan's 1986 exclusion from the UK in July 1998 came after Nation of
Islam members were involved in an incident at the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.
He then confirmed the decision and maintained it in November last year after
a further review of the case.
Mr Justice Turner heard how the ban on Mr Farrakhan was an interference with
his rights to freedom of expression under the Human Rights Act and at common
It was also said by Mr Blake to interfere with the rights of those in the UK
who were interested in hearing what he had to say on issues "of value to the
black American and black British community".
Jan Shure, from the Jewish Chronicle told the BBC that she had reservations
about Mr Farrakhan being allowed to enter the country.
"Some of his past messages to his followers have been enormously
controversial, for example calling Judaism a 'nation of vipers'.
"His views are not generally conducive to racial harmony. This could add to
racial tension and the Jewish community would be very concerned about that."
Mr Farrakhan is not banned from any other country in the world.
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
Version: 6.0.265 / Virus Database: 137 - Release Date: 7/18/01