Farrakhan still barred from Britain

Reuters/July 15, 2002

London -- Britain's highest court on Monday upheld a government ban barring Louis Farrakhan, leader of the US black separatist group the Nation of Islam, from entering the country.

Britain has banned visits by Farrakhan since the 1980s, saying the black leader, who once called Judaism a "gutter religion," could stir ethnic strife for what Home Office lawyers have called his "anti-semitic and racially divisive views."

Farrakhan, 69, won a court fight to lift the ban last October, but the government persuaded an appeals court in April to reimpose the ban. A Home Office lawyer told the court that "to allow such a person into the country would pose a significant threat to community and public order".

On Monday, three Law Lords representing Britain's House of Lords, the country's highest court, published a ruling that Farrakhan should not be permitted a further appeal to overturn the ban. They gave no reasons.

Farrakhan told Britain's Guardian newspaper in May the ban should be lifted.

"Britain has nothing to fear from listening to a man and making their own judgement as to whether he is worthy of being listened to or discarded," he said.

His lawyers argued last year that he had "moved on" and was now "an extremely prominent spiritual, religious and social leader."

Farrakhan is now on a tour of African and Middle Eastern countries. He arrived in Zimbabwe on Friday, where state media said he gave his backing to President Robert Mugabe's policy of seizing white-owned farmland.

The Nation of Islam, the Chicago-based group that Farrakhan has led since the 1970s, advocates a radical agenda including a separate state for American blacks.

But Farrakhan has enjoyed some mainstream influence as well, especially since leading hundreds of thousands of blacks to Washington DC 1995's "Million Man March."

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