Persecution of Rastafari

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Persecution of members of the Rastafari movement, a group founded in Jamaica in the early 1930s and who worship Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia as Almighty God, has been fairly continuous since the movement began but nowadays is particularly concerning their spiritual use of cannabis.

The first Rastafari to appear in a court was Leonard Howell in Jamaica in 1934 who was charged with sedition for refusing to accept George V of the United Kingdom as his King, instead insisting that he was only loyal to Selassie I and Ethiopia. He was found guilty and sentenced to several years in prison.[1]

By the 1950s, Rastafari's message of pride and unity had unnerved the ruling class of Jamaica. In 1954, the Pinnacle commune was destroyed by Jamaican authorities.

Attitudes began to change when Selassie I visited Jamaica in April 1966.


  1. ^ Louis Ea Moyston (23 February 2002). "Leonard P Howell, universal prophet". The Jamaica Observer. Archived from the original on 16 March 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2010.