Rastafarians Want Meeting With Queen

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Leaders of Jamaica's Rastafarian community said Sunday that they 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," said Sam Clayton, head of the cultural group Mystic Revelation of Rastafari. "We think the queen can make a significant contribution."

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

Most Jamaicans are black descendants of the African slaves brought to the island by British colonizers. Rastafarians in Jamaica have been asking for repatriation costs 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. Adherents are often noted for their dreadlocks and use of marijuana, which followers believe aids meditation.