Christianity, Other World Religions `Dysfunctional', Claims (Louis) Farrakhan

Article excerpt

As those inside the CNE Coliseum prayed in Arabic to Allah, latecomers lined up for a thorough body search.

"Sisters to the left, brothers to the right," a clean-cut young man in snappy suit, white shirt and bow tie said politely. "Sorry for the inconvenience, sir."

Louis Farrakhan, the charismatic and controversial Nation of Islam leader was in town - the last stop on a 53-nation friendship tour before returning to the U.S.

The former calypso singer and musician turned religious leader, who calls Libyan leader Moammar Gadafi his "brother and friend," comes with a reputation for inflammatory rhetoric that targets whites, Jews and homosexuals.

Two years ago, before his first Toronto visit, Jewish groups unsuccessfully lobbied to have Mr. Farrakhan barred from Canada on the grounds that he was likely to violate the country's anti-hate laws. A standing-room-only crowd of 2,600 turned up to hear him speak at the Toronto Convention Centre. Hundreds more were turned away.

Although Mr. Farrakhan's speech was considered temperate, the Jewish community was concerned that some of the books sold outside the convention hall could be considered hate literature.

Members of the Toronto Police Service's hate-crimes unit were reported to be on hand at the Coliseum event to monitor Mr. Farrakhan's speech. No charges were laid. Nor did there appear to be any material on sale that could be construed as hate literature.

Mr. Farrakhan - his Christian surname was Wolcott - was born in New York City's Bronx section to West Indian immigrants who were Episcopalian. He converted to Islam and joined the Nation of Islam in the 1950s. …