UK judge to explain Farrakhan ruling
LONDON, England -- A senior British judge is preparing to explain his decision to overturn a 15-year ban preventing U.S. black activist Louis Farrakhan from entering the UK.
Judge Michael Turner ruled in July that the British government was wrong to exclude Farrakhan, the 68-year-old Chicago-based head of the Nation of Islam.
Farrakhan has not been allowed into Britain since 1986 because of fears that he would stir up racial tension.
However, Turner overturned that ban and will give his reasons for doing so on Monday, court officials told Reuters.
Lawyers for Farrakhan had argued that he should be allowed into Britain, claiming that the decision of then Home Secretary Jack Straw last November to maintain the longstanding ban threatened community relations and was wrong.
They said Farrakhan had "moved on," that he was "an extremely prominent spiritual, religious and social leader" and that in the United States he was regarded as a significant spokesman for the black community.
Farrakhan has said he definitely intends to visit Britain.
The July 31 decision came in the wake of some of Britain's worst race riots in two decades.
Tensions boiled over into repeated bouts of violence in towns across northern England, including Oldham and Leeds.
The ban on Farrakhan was first imposed in 1986 by the then UK Home Secretary Douglas Hurd, following opposition to Farrakhan's presence in Britain by the Board of Deputies of British Jews who cited his "anti-Semitic and racially divisive views."
Farrakhan -- whose black separatist movement has attracted controversy for many years -- has made many outspoken remarks about Jews, whites, Catholics, women and homosexuals.
Following the July ruling, Farrakhan told the BBC: "I really don't think that there is any evidence in the 47 years of my ministry in the USA and in other parts of the world that any violence follows my speeches or follows my teaching."
He said Islam was not a racist religion, and that his message to Britain was one of "atonement, reconciliation and responsibility ... a theme that is much needed in the UK."
In August, Farrakhan's 42-year-old son Joshua was shot and wounded after unknown assailants broke into a home he was visiting in Chicago.
Farrakhan's son shot
August 16, 2001
Farrakhan wins battle to visit UK
August 1, 2001
Farrakhan challenges UK ban
July 12, 2001
The birth of the Nation of Islam
July 11, 2001
Farrakhan: Racist or righteous?
July 12, 2001
Home Office for the UK
Nation of Islam
Law in the UK: The British Council
The Final Call
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