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Groups blast planned speech by Farrakhan in Miss.

By MOLLY DAVIS
The Associated Press
Thursday, March 24, 2011; 3:47 PM

JACKSON, Miss. -- Some advocates for racial equality are criticizing the selection of Louis Farrakhan as the keynote speaker for an annual convention of civil rights veterans in Mississippi.

Farrakhan leads the Chicago-based Nation of Islam, which published two books last year on what Farrakhan calls the "anti-black behavior" of Jews.

Leaders of two dozen churches and synagogues signed a statement Tuesday condemning this Friday's keynote choice as "offensive" and noting Farrakhan's past statements on Roman Catholicism, Judaism and homosexuality.

During the civil rights struggles of the 1960s in Mississippi, Christian and Jewish leaders played critical roles.

A spokesman for the Nation of Islam wasn't immediately available for comment. Owen Brooks, director of the Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement, didn't respond to requests for comment.

© 2011 The Associated Press