February 17, 2002

Rastafarians want meeting with Britain's queen

                 KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) -- Leaders of Jamaica's Rastafarian community
                 want to meet with Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the former British
                 colony to persuade her to pay for Rastafarians to be repatriated to Africa.

                 "Colonialization has disfigured us and we deserve some response to what we have
                 been through," Sam Clayton, head of the cultural group Mystic Revelation of
                 Rastafari, said Sunday. "We think the queen can make a significant contribution."

                 The queen arrives Monday for a three-day visit to the Caribbean island.

                 Rastafarians in Jamaica have been asking for repatriation from the British Crown
                 since the 1960s, when a delegation from the community presented a petition to the
                 United Nations.

                 Clayton said he met with the queen during her last visit to Jamaica nearly a decade
                 ago, but he said the topic of repatriation never came up. He said he plans to deliver
                 a letter to her on the issue.

                 "We have faith that she will listen, she is a gracious queen," Clayton said.

                 Other Rastafarians are planning peaceful demonstrations at places the queen is
                 scheduled to visit.

                 Rastafarianism's many sects worship the late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, and
                 many Rastas advocate a return to Africa.

                 The religion emerged in Jamaica and spread throughout the Caribbean in the 1930s
                 out of the anger felt by descendants of slaves with the colonial powers' oppression
                 of blacks.

                 Adherents are often noted for their dreadlocks and use of marijuana, which
                 followers believe aids meditation.

                  Copyright 2002 The Associated Press.