Muhammad Ali was widely consdered one of the greatest boxers of all time, and one of the sport’s most well-recognized figures. Former member of Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam movement, he was once barred from a fast-food restaurant because of his race. When he returned after winning the 1960 Olympic Games light-heavyweight title, he placed his gold medal on the table and ordered a burger.
“We still don’t serve niggers,” he was told. “That’s OK,” he is said to have cheekily replied. “I don’t eat ’em.”
Muhammad Ali is now mostly paralyzed by Parkinson’s Syndrome, but it hasn’t stopped him from standing up against bigotry in any of its forms.
He said in a statement on Wednesday night:
“I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so-called Islamic jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion,”Ali said, specifically in response to Trump’s call to ban Muslim immigration.
Trump said on Monday that he backs “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
“We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda,” he added, pointing out that politicians ought to promote greater understanding of Islam and clarify that “these misguided murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.”
Trump once called Muhammad Ali “my friend” in a Facebook post, apparently having forgotten that Ali is a Muslim who would take offense to being banned from America.
And with that statement, Mohammad Ali knocked out both radical Trump and radical Islam.
Mohammad Ali isn’t the first high-flying Muslim to backtrack on Trump; on Tuesday, an Arab billionaire withdrew his support from Trump’s campaign:
“I wrote an article supporting him [in a leading Gulf newspaper in August,” Khalaf Al Habtoor, who has featured on the Forbes rich list, told NBC News on Tuesday. “I said we are fed up with the politicians, they have destroyed the Middle East … I wrote we need a successful businessman like Mr. Trump.”
“When he was talking about Muslims, attacking them … I had to admit I made a mistake in my supporting Mr. Trump,” he said. “He is creating a hatred between Muslims and the United States of America.”
Trump owns businesses in Muslim countries…