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Last Updated: Friday, 5 November, 2004, 02:17 GMT
Radical black leader to visit UK
By Cindi John
BBC News community affairs reporter

Malik Zulu Shabazz
Malik Zulu Shabazz has led the NBPP since 2001
The controversial head of a US black separatist group is to visit Britain for the first time.

Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense (NBPP) is due to arrive in London on Saturday to meet members of the party's UK wing.

Critics of Mr Shabazz in the US say his public comments about Jews and other races prove he is an anti-Semite.

Jewish groups in the UK have reacted with dismay to news of the visit.

Mike Whine, a spokesman for the Board of Deputies for British Jews, told the BBC News website though Mr Shabazz was virtually unknown in the UK, he was notorious in the US.

Mr Whine said: "The New Black Panther Party is very anti-Semitic and promotes both anti-Semitism and racism. They've also threatened violence and the language they use is violent.

"He's high on the agenda of our American colleagues."

'More extreme than Farrakhan'

Founded in 1990, the NBPP takes its name from the Black Panther Party, a black power group active in the 1960s and 1970s.

Members of the original Black Panthers have condemned the NBPP saying its rhetoric on racial separation is at odds with their multi-cultural ideology.

He'll only be talking about issues that affect the black community
Hughie Rose, NBPP UK

Mr Shabazz is on record as saying Jews were "substantially and significantly involved in the African holocaust" and "Zionists are causing problems for people of colour around the world".

He was formerly a member of another controversial black group, the Nation of Islam.

Its leader, Louis Farrakhan, is currently the subject of a banning order issued by the Home Secretary, preventing him coming to the UK.

But Mr Whine believes Mr Shabazz is a more entrenched anti-Semite than Mr Farrakhan.

He said: "In a sense Shabazz is more extreme than Farrakhan in that he doesn't try to apologise as Farrakhan seeks to do once he's made an anti-Semitic remark. "

'Talking to the black community'

During his visit Mr Shabazz is due to make a number of speeches around the country organised by the UK branch of the NBPP.

Its leader, Hughie Rose, admitted Mr Shabazz was "high profile" but said during his stay in the UK he believed he would steer clear of controversial topics.

"He's going to be going on a nationwide tour entitled Stop the Killing in the Community, it's about gun violence.

We don't need people who are going to polarise communities
Edie Friedman, Jewish Council for Racial Equality
"He's coming to talk directly to the African community and he'll only be talking about issues that affect the black community," Mr Rose said.

Edie Friedman of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality said she hoped Mr Shabazz would stick to non-controversial subjects.

She said: "In today's world, the use of emotive, crass language which is likely to inflame sentiments is not what's needed.

"We don't need people who are going to polarise communities."

Mr Whine said his organisation was not planning to call on the Home Secretary to ban Mr Shabazz from entering Britain.

"He's only going to be here for a short time and my guess is his message doesn't have much resonance for the black community in this country," he said.

But the Board of Deputies has informed the Metropolitan Police about Mr Shabazz's visit.

'Separation is the best solution'
05 Feb 04 |  Magazine

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