Muhammad Ali defends Muslims in response to Donald Trump’s ban plan

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Three-time heavyweight champion condemns Islamic Jihadists and Trumps proposed prohibition on Muslims

Muhammad Ali hit out against Islamic extremists and Donald Trumps plan to bar Muslims from entering the United States on Wednesday.

I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world, the three-time world heavyweight champion said in a statement. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic jihadists runs against the very tenets of our religion.

The Louisville-born boxer, who converted to Sunni Islam in 1975, called on Muslims to stand up to those who utilize Islam to advance their own personal agenda.

He added: They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it runs against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.

The 132 -word statement, issued under the headline Presidential Candidates Proposing to Ban Muslim Immigration to the United States, also took a thinly veiled swipe at Trumps sweeping proposal for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States, constructed on Monday in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting.

Speaking as someone who has never been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided assassins have perverted people views on what Islam really is, Ali said.

Friend to foe: Trumps ugly descent into anti-Muslim rhetoric

Trump had unwittingly invoked Ali earlier the coming week in the Republican presidential candidates response to President Barack Obamas address to the nation on Sunday night, tweeting: Obama said in his speech that Muslims are our sports heroes. What sport is he talking about, and who? Is Obama profiling?

Many were quick to mention the two had crossed tracks many times over the years, with Trump himself referring to Ali as my friend in a Facebook post merely seven months prior.

Even with advanced Parkinsons disease having severely limited his speech and mobility, the 73 -year-old icon continues to give his global clout to a number of humanitarian causes.

In March, the Olympic gold medalist called on the Iranian government to release an imprisoned Washington Post journalist, calling the imprisoned Jason Rezaian a man of peace and great faith who utilized his gift of writing and intimate knowledge of the country to share the stories of the people and culture of Iran to the world.

In 2011, Ali headed a group of prominent US Muslims in calling on Iranian leaders to release a pair of American hikers who had been detained near the Iran-Iraq border two years prior.

Known simply as The Greatest, he is renowned today as much for his principled stances on religious freedom and racial justice as his epochal victories over Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier and George Foreman.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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