The black power leader, the
Reverend Louis Farrakhan, has been
banned from the UK since 1986. On
30 April 2002 the government won its appeal against the ruling that the
controversial American political leader should be allowed to enter Britain.
The Appeal Court overturned a High Court decision made in 2001 to quash
a 16-year ban on the Nation of Islam leader. It
was feared that the 68-year-old could threaten public order if he were allowed
to enter Britain. However, this
is not the end of this affair, for the lawyers acting for Farrakhan said they
would appeal to the House of Lords. Farrakhan
has been banned by successive Home Secretaries since1986 when the Tories
banned him on the grounds he had repeatedly expressed racist and anti-Semitic
views. He has especially upset
the Jews in his attacks, as have other black power leaders like Jessie Jackson
who have kept to Christianity. This
is one aspect of the laws against racism that has backfired on the Jews.
Maybe the black power leaders think the Jews are too rich to be spared
their attacks. Many British Jews
were upset that the High Court repealed the ban last year.
Every Home Secretary since 1986
has been set against Farrakhan entering the UK. Blunkett is no exception.
Three Court of Appeal judges headed by the Master of the Rolls, Lord
Phillips, backed him up in that judgement.
The judges thought that the ban “did not involve a disproportionate
interference with freedom of expression.”
This is not quite true, nor even can it be so, and the judges haply
should have admitted as much. Maybe
they really do feel that motivation matters greatly to the nature of a ban.
But the plain fact is that motivation is rarely, if ever, germane to
the truth. Blunkett welcomed the
result by saying: “I am very relieved that the view taken by successive Home
Secretaries has been vindicated and the Home Secretary’s right to exclude
someone from the country whose presence is not conducive to good public order
has been upheld.” In their ruling, the appeal judges said that since Mr Justice
Turner’s 2001 decision about Farrakhan being safe “the events of September
11 had intervened”. They said
it was a personal decision of the Home Secretary which was within his “wide
margin of discretion”, and that he was in a far better position to reach an
informed conclusion than was any court. Blunkett
seemed pleased with the result.
But there were some that were not
so pleased. Dr Hilary Muhammed,
Farrakhan’s representative in the UK, said the Appeal Court had acknowledged
the minister posed no threat. Similarly,
Sabiq Khan, solicitor for the Nation of
Islam said, “He is preaching a message of self-discipline,
self-reliance, atonement and responsibility.
He’s trying to address the issues and problems we have in the UK,
black on black crime and problems in the black community.
It’s outrageous and astonishing that the British Government is trying
to exclude this man.” Farrakhan’s
lawyers had argued the ban scotched the European Convention of Human Rights,
which is also, nowadays, enshrined in British law.
Farrakhan has visited Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Israel and Libya.
But the appeal case overturned Justice Michael Turner’s ruling that
there was no evidence of racial, religious or ethnic tensions between the
Muslim and Jewish communities in Britain.
But others welcomed the decision.
Lord Janner, chairman of the Holocaust
Educational Trust, said: “I am delighted that the law has acted justly,
realising the damage that Farrakhan could have done to Britain, particularly
now at a time of political unrest in the Middle East, Europe and here.
With our local elections this week, the BNP do not need encouragement
from the likes of Farrakhan.”
Farrakhan is certainly a
demagogue and has repeatedly attacked Jews with the result that in the USA and
the UK they now hate him. They
say that he is racist and anti-Semitic and that seems to be true enough.
He has mellowed of late but in the past he has called white people
“devils” and called the Jews “bloodsuckers”.
He has said that Judaism was a “gutter religion” and that Adolf
Hitler was a “wickedly great man”, maybe in the rap sense of wicked. But
this has not been known to end in violence so far.
And, now he has decided to foster good will, he may never repeat his
firebrand days. But this is
something the authorities never did want to risk.