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Jewish students at UMass-Amherst protest Farrakhan visit

AMHERST, Mass. -- Jewish students are protesting a planned March speech at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

The students said statements made by Farrakhan show that he is prejudiced against Jews and Asians, and they don't believe university funds should be used to pay for his visit.

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The Amherst dispute comes on the heels of disclosures this week by a New York congressman that Farrakhan suggested in an unpublicized speech in July of 1992 in Hartford, Conn., that 'maybe the (Holocaust) should be repeated.'

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said on the House floor that Farrakhan told a group of rabbis: ''Instead of talking about Hitler so much, you should ask: Why did God permit that to happen? Was there a lesson to be learned, and have you learned it yet? Or maybe the lesson should be repeated?''

In Amherst Wednesday, the campus's largest student Jewish organization, Hillel House, criticized Farrahkan as 'a bigot' against Jews and Asians.

'What we're protesting is his bigotry,' said Hillel member Steven Sparling. 'We should not be paying to bring a bigot to campus.'

Farrakhan was invited to UMass-Amherst by the Black Student Union and the black fraternity Phi Beta Sigma.

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The March 9 appearance will cost $15,000 for a speaker's fee, $5,000 for his security organization and $5,000 for campus police.

The funds will come from student-controlled monies and ticket sales.

UMass Chancellor David K. Scott challenged Farrakhan to engage in a dialogue during his visit to campus so that the public could discuss his ideas with him.

'Anything less is not worthy of a university community and makes a mockery of the concept of freedom of expression on a university campus,' Scott said.

Farrakhan was criticized recently for comments that were perceived to be anti-Semitic.

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