Minister Louis Farrakhan speaks to Nation of Islam followers at Mosque Maryam November 20, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. During his address Farrakhan praised President-elect Barack Obama and said his election would create a new beginning for race relations in America.

*Some advocates for racial equality are criticizing the selection of Louis Farrakhan as the keynote speaker for an annual convention of civil rights veterans in Mississippi, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Farrakhan leads the Chicago-based Nation of Islam, which published two books last year on what Farrakhan calls the “anti-black behavior” of Jews.

Leaders of two dozen churches and synagogues signed a statement Tuesday condemning this Friday’s keynote choice as “offensive” and noting Farrakhan’s past statements on Roman Catholicism, Judaism and homosexuality.

During the civil rights struggles of the 1960s in Mississippi, Christian and Jewish leaders played critical roles.

A spokesman for the Nation of Islam wasn’t immediately available for comment, the Times noted. Owen Brooks, director of the Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement, didn’t respond to requests for comment.