6.14.2013

Alabama Senator Hank Sanders on Farrakhan: 'I applaud him for all the good things he has done'

(Source: AL.com) BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - On the eve of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan's visit to Birmingham and other central Alabama cities to help rally support for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, an organizer of his appearance defended the decision to bring the controversial minister.

The Birmingham Jewish Federation publicized a letter to organization executive director Richard Friedman from state Sen. Hank Sanders of Selma, who defends Farrakhan's appearance. Farrakhan, who will appear for a rally at Kelly Ingram Park at around 9 a.m. on Friday, has generated many comments labeling him a racist and anti-Jew.

In the letter, Sanders writes: "Minister Louis Farrakhan is coming to Alabama at our invitation. We welcome everyone who will stand with us to protect this basic right -- the right to vote, which is under great attack."

Sanders in his letter talks about the importance of voting and freedom of speech. "You and other Jewish people have and have had the right to vote. It is not under attack. You have not suffered the loss of the right to vote provided by Fifteenth Amendment to U.S. Constitution as we have. You were not prevented from voting for nearly 100 years as our people were. It is a terrible thing that I hope Jewish Americans never have to suffer," Sanders states.

"We are fighting to protect a constitutional right -- the right to vote. You are fighting to keep a person out of Alabama because of his exercising his constitutional right to freedom of speech. The words you attribute to him are offensive, but it is his constitutional right to speak. (Additionally, he has denied many of the allegations.) I do not fault you for objecting to offensive language," he continues. [READ MORE]