Tuesday, August 8, 2017

From The Final Call Newspaper

Min. Farrakhan Banned in UK!

By Richard B. Muhammad - Editor | Last updated: Aug 7, 2017 - 1:48:50 PM

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Crowd on London’s Kensington Park assembles for African International Day of Action.

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From left: Michael Muhammad, Abdul Hakeem Muhammad, Ras Sugar Dread and Sheba Levi Steward listen as Stella Headley of the Rastafari Movement UK reads permit including restrictions that banned Minister Farrakhan or any Nation of Islam representative from speaking.

Barred from speaking in United Kingdom

Free speech, religious rights violated as Farrakhan is targeted by government

Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam have no rights that UK political leaders are bound to respect given a new low in the denial of free speech and free exercise of religion inside the onetime colonial power.

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The 30-year-old campaign against the honorable minister and the Nation escalated as the Minister was denied the right to speak via videotaped message or live stream to a London audience. And a Nation student minister and Muslims in the UK were denied the right to speak—or even pass out literature about their faith and beloved minister the same day.


The astonishing denial of religious, free speech and human rights came during the Africa International Day of Action in London’s Kensington Park in early August.

Despite almost a year of planning, meeting and dialogue with local political leaders, who controlled the park permit for the annual event, event organizers were informed of the major restrictions at the last minute. Hundreds assembled in the park Aug. 5 were angered and shocked by the unjust decision, said event organizers.

“It was clear to me that they are outlawing Islam as taught by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,” said Abdul Hakeem Muhammad, the European representative of Min. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam based in London. Student Minister Hakeem Muhammad and N.O.I. officials are working on a proper legal response to the decision but are troubled at the blatant rights violations and apparent widening of a campaign against Min. Farrakhan.

As a citizen of the United Kingdom, Student Minister Hakeem Muhammad should have had the right to share his views and express his faith at the festival. A message from Min. Farrakhan was billed as the highlight for the three-year-old event. Instead the Lambeth Council, a local elected body, muzzled him and denied basic rights through prohibitions in the park permit.

Police were also clearly on hand to enforce permit restrictions, said event organizers.
The permit explicitly forbade any video or livestream of the Minister, any words from representatives of Min. Farrakhan and the Nation and the distribution of any N.O.I. literature or information. The edicts came late on a Friday night before the Saturday event and too late for a court challenge.
                    
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Sheba Levi Steward Photos: Thabo Jaiyesimi

It would appear strange that a hyper-local political body would act in such a major way, except that the justification for the denials came from the Home Office of the United Kingdom. The Home Office, headed by former Prime Minister Teresa May, is similar to the Department of Homeland Security in America, explained Abdul Hakeem Muhammad, who was formerly known as Hilary Muhammad. He was renamed by Min. Farrakhan.

Abdul Arif Muhammad, general counsel for the Nation of Islam in Chicago, agreed with Minister Hakeem Muhammad that the Lambeth Council actions “very clearly” exceeded the scope of a ban on Min. Farrakhan wrongly imposed three decades ago.

Under that wrongheaded and ill-motivated action, the Minister was denied entry into the United Kingdom. Part of the reason the ban stayed in place, despite N.O.I. UK battles to overturn it, was the government argument that Min.  Farrakhan was able to reach his followers through communication such as telephone hook-ups, satellite transmissions, literature and videotapes at that time. The UK government’s argument was the Minister’s views were accessible, but his person was not desired in the country. The Lambeth Ban now seems to take away those and more current methods of communication and expression.

“The question of the origin of that violation is important because you have freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The human right of the human being to speak freely and practice religion in America is considered sacrosanct and similarly in the UK. The council were actors, but on whose behalf? They are a local council,” observed Atty. Arif Muhammad.
While the legal strategy is hashed out, there are moves underway to contest a local councilor who supported the Lambeth Ban and oppose his reelection next year.
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Crowd gathers at Kensington Park on Aug. 5 for African International Day of Action in the UK.


The anti-Farrakhan campaign
The Africa International Day of Action was organized and co-sponsored by the Rastifari Movement UK and the Nation of Islam and has been observed since 2014. This year’s theme was devoted to “healing and repair” and was a far cry from any extremist or hate falsely smeared on the Minister. The day’s theme reflects messages and preaching about reconciliation and healing wounds that are major elements of Min. Farrakhan’s ministry. Authorities justified the Lambert Ban by saying there were worries about public or counter protestors from the far right, gay groups and Jewish organization opposed to Min. Farrakhan’s words. The theme of the Minister’s address for Aug. 5 was “Reparations: What Does the U.K. and Europe Owe Us?”

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Drummers perform during African International Day of Action.
It was bad enough that the person of Min. Farrakhan would be banned but now his word is being banned, Abdul Hakeem Muhammad said. It is a logical step, he observed. The word is powerful and that word is now spreading throughout Black households in the United Kingdom, he said. In a twisted sense, the opposition to Min. Farrakhan is confirmation of how powerful and important his words are, added Min. Hakeem Muhammad.


Glenroy Watson of the Global African Congress, which grew out of the World Conference Against Racism in 2001, joined other organizers and supporters of Africa International Day in condemning the Lambeth Ban.
The trade unionist referred to the action as an “absurd situation.” Even the political wing of the Irish Republican Army was allowed to speak in this country, but “Africans living in this country not allowed to speak with other Africans? They wish to muzzle our mouths and cut off our legs,” said Mr. Watson, who is Global African Congress co-chair. “We are going to have to take this on heavily.”
A peaceful festival and a false controversy
Abu Akil, chair of the Global African Congress, denounced the Lambeth Ban. In the UK, people are being funded to seek out internal threats and concern about terrorism was used to cover opposition to Min. Farrakhan, he said. The reality is a divided Black community is coming together with a demand for reparations and that is seen as a significant threat, said Mr. Akil.
                    
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The Council of Lambeth in London's permit requirement containing the "special requirements".

Absolutely nothing about the park event could be construed as linked to terrorism and the event has been peaceful, never violent nor extremist, he noted. The only driver for the Lambeth Ban could have been the Home Office, Mr.  Akil added.
Lambeth Council, which represents a ward
with a high Black population, made the permit process very difficult, he said. Event organizers noted that in the past, members of the Lambeth Council have expressed support for the event and even spoken at the festival.

Africa International Day of Action is a free day devoted to highlighting the Black and Caribbean communities through consciousness raising, empowerment, cultural activities and a focus on health, business and entrepreneurship, youth enterprises, an arts and crafts market, traditional African, Caribbean and healthy cuisine, music, speakers, dancers and singers, games, sports, drumming, information and guidance for services and support and reggae performances.

According to The Voice, a Black newspaper in the United Kingdom, “ethnic minorities now account for up to 14 percent of the UK population, with a purchasing power of more than £300bn ($390 billion) and rising—with approximately 2 million Afro Caribbean in the UK, half of which live in London.”

“There is on one hand a denial and idea that somehow race no longer matters and anyone who complains is belly aching, but then we are marginalized in education, health care and business and that process is very sophisticated,” continued Mr. Akil. “We are being marginalized like never before and in some ways turning on neighbors and family members, instead of our oppressors.”
So, there is a fear Blacks will organize and mobilize for reparations, which is the issue for the 21st century, Mr. Akil argued.

Sheba Levi Steward of the Rastafari Movement UK explained how the Africa International Day of Action followed a 2014 march on Parliament from Brixton, an historic Black community in London. It included a declaration about Black concerns and plans for the international day to be observed annually for the next 10 years as part of the United Nations-declared decade for people of African descent. It included positive measures the community would take to restore and repair itself, she said. The aims of the day and the day’s program was well known, she argued.

“Africa Day of International Action showcases the work that we do and share with other organizations and groups and collaborate with other groups,” said Ms. Levi Steward. “We are mindful that no other race in history has gone through what the African race has gone through.”
“Though we are Rasta, we are African and one blood not willing to be divided by force or intimidation,” she vowed.

There were meetings with the Lambeth Council to discuss “concerns” and the council is aware of the Rastafari Movement UK’s work, business plan and N.O.I. assurances in writing about the positive nature of the event, said Ms. Levi Steward.

“The community came out to show our day is something we are entitled to, hearing our people is something we are entitled to, and with human rights we have a right to have a day and event. The Nation of Islam has always been dignified and disciplined,” she said.

The council also failed in its duty to ensure Black people, who are supposed to be protected by UK equality law, were not harmed in its decision, added Ms. Levi Steward.

Stella Headley, of the Rastafari Movement, pointed out that the organization works to strengthen itself internally and runs community and international programs. Among the efforts are economic and entrepreneurship programs and workshops for the development of girls and women, media and radio, and craft making. International work includes a nursery school in Gambia, programs in Ghana and Ethiopia, she said.

Ironically Kensington Park is known as the birthplace for democracy in the UK and is a place where anti-slavery movement and Black leaders met in the 18th century to declare concerns about Black life in this country, she said.

Min. Farrakhan would have been projected onto a giant screen and sound would have piped throughout the park. Instead Ms. Levi Steward read the permit and its prohibitions to the crowd as Min. Hakeem Muhammad stood by her side. Then he directed the crowd to the Minister’s Facebook page where they could view the Minister’s message, which he delivered Aug. 5 via social media, on their phones and personal electronic devices. Min. Hakeem Muhammad also invited the crowd to come to Muhammad Mosque No. 1 in London to view the message the next day.

The mosque meeting was packed, he said.

Ras Sugar Dread, of the Rastafari Movement UK and a radio host, said, “This event opened people’s eyes to what is happening in the UK and the world.”

The event cost over $20,000 to put on, said organizers. Min. Hakeem Muhammad said he obeyed the Minister’s instructions and did not violate the terms of the permit. If I had started to speak, the police would have intervened, it would have been chaos and opened the way for the N.O.I. UK to be banned as an extremist group, he said. Even the extreme weather, which included rain, lightening and sunshine, helped thin the crowd and avoid a confrontation, he said.

What does the UK and Europe owe?

Blacks are in the Western Hemisphere because they were brought here by enslavers and colonial masters and were torn from Africa, said Min. Farrakhan, in a message from his social media accounts.

Reparations is a serious matter and deal with what the UK owes the sons and daughters of Africa in the Caribbean and in Africa, he said. Both suffered the cruelty of domination, whether through slavery or colonization, said Min. Farrakhan.

We have been subjected to tyranny, the loss of freedom and the cry for justice and our pain has been ignored, he said.

What does UK owe those formerly colonized and enslaved? asked Min. Farrakhan.

If the biblical law of justice, a life for life, is observed tens of millions of us have been destroyed in the Transatlantic Slave Trade with tens of millions destroyed on the African continent, he observed.
If Europe paid for loss of life under colonialism and slavery, not too many White Europeans would be left alive if that law was applied, said the Minister.

Europe benefitted from evil and death heaped on Blacks, where ill-gotten gains built beautiful capitals and cities, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome and Palermo, Italy, said Min. Farrakhan.
The stones in the streets and beautiful buildings were built on the backs of those Whites enslaved and colonized, but did Whites think the pendulum of justice would not swing back to them? he asked. The Bible says God is not mocked, what a man sows he shall reap, warned the Minister.

Whites owe us everything, but can’t pay with all their lives, yet some payment must be made, he said. Reparatory justice is the cry of Africa, the Caribbean and Asia, said Min. Farrakhan.

But Europe does not want Black people anymore and the skills and brain power of Black people must be put to work in the Caribbean and Africa, he said. We are not feeding ourselves in the Caribbean or Africa and a genocidal plot is afoot with unhealthy food and food loaded with carcinogens coming from Europe and America, he said.

We must separate from these people as Great Britain and Europe are not as great as they once were and cannot create employment for their own jobless people, Min. Farrakhan said. Blacks must separate from the mindset of their former owners and colonial masters and strike out on their own, he continued.

Unity can bring some level of justice but the future is in self-help and development of the Caribbean and Africa, with economic, education and justice systems created by Black people for Black people, he said.

Blacks must reject envy, hatred, jealousy, petty dislikes and division based on European languages, skin color and places their ancestors are from, warned Min. Farrakhan.

“Europe is not going to give you reparations but the repair for us is already here.  In the Bible, it says I will send my messenger from before my face and he will prepare the way for me. And that messenger would have healing in his wings. … The wings of a messenger of God is knowledge. What you are suffering from is ignorance and the manipulation of our ignorance by the forces of power,” he said.

“You, England, should be afraid of the wrath of God,” the Minister added. There should not be fear of my words, he said.

Uniting with one another and with God will bring reparations and success that Blacks desire, said Min. Farrakhan.
(Read edited text of Min. Farrakhan’s Aug. 5 message to the UK.)

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