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Court delays Farrakhan ban verdict


LONDON, England -- The Court of Appeal has delayed giving a judgement on a government appeal to bar the black U.S. political leader Louis Farrakhan's entering the country.

The British government is appealing against a High Court judgement which quashed the Home Secretary's decision to prevent the activist entering the UK.

The Court of Appeal reserved its decision on Wednesday.

The government had argued that it was right to bar Farrakhan from the UK because he is well known for making anti-Semitic and racially divisive views.

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Home Secretary David Blunkett was launching an appeal against a High Court ruling that quashed his predecessor Jack Straw's decision.

Monica Carss-Frisk QC, representing the home secretary, told a panel of three

judges headed by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Phillips, that the right to freedom of expression enshrined in the Human Rights Convention did not apply in a case involving a decision on whether to allow a non-national into the country.

Last July Chicago-based Farrakhan, 68, successfully challenged a personal decision to extend the ban by Straw in 2000.

The controversial head of the Nation of Islam has been excluded from Britain since 1986 by successive home secretaries because of concern that his presence could lead to public disorder following anti-Semitic remarks he has made in the past.

Carss-Frisk said High Court judge Mr Justice Turner was wrong to interfere with the home secretary's judgment as to what was conducive to the public good.

She said, referring to the current trouble in the Mideast: "To allow him into the country would pose a significant threat to community relations and public order and was therefore contrary to the public good."

Farrakhan, a father of nine, has been dubbed a "black racist" after using inflammatory language in speeches.

He has described whites as "devils" and Judaism as a "gutter religion" with Jews being called "bloodsuckers" who got rich by oppressing blacks.

Nicholas Blake QC, representing Farrakhan, said the then home secretary had reached his decision in 2000 -- after an extensive three-year review -- to maintain an exclusion order on a man in his late sixties who was in failing health.

In the intervening years since the order was first made, Farrakhan has achieved a status as a spiritual and political voice of the African-American community in the U.S..

He added the home secretary's decision was based on past statements by Farrakhan and not on any fears that he would violate race relations laws.

Blake said Farrakhan had not only targeted Jews in his speeches but had also "said unkind things about whites, Catholics and gays."

The home secretary should have examined the context in which these things were

said in America where it was held that the white man had treated the black unfairly.

Blake said he had taken his message all over the world -- to Commonwealth countries and even to Israel. The only country he had not been allowed to visit was Britain.


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