Champion fighter that he is, boxing legend Muhammad Ali criticized US Presidential Republican candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday over his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
Ali doesn’t mention Trump’s name but its headline reads “Presidential Candidates Proposing to Ban Muslim Immigration to the United States”.
In a statement to NBC News, Ali says: “We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.”
“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 murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.”
The boxing legend also slammed the “so-called Islamic Jihadists”.
In the same statement issued to NBC News, the former heavyweight champion of the world and peace activist defends Islam and says: “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’s dig at Trump comes just three days after Trump said on Twitter that he couldn’t recall any great American Muslim athletes, even though he has met Ali several times in the past and received an award named after the former heavyweight champion back in 2007.
The 73-year-old boxing legend was born Cassius Clay but converted to Islam and changed his name in 1964.
Not only Ali but Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah, who is a Muslim also said that Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims is disappointing and asked everyone to educate themselves before taking a stance.
In a televised address to the nation on Sunday night, US President Barack Obama called on Americans to reject discrimination, saying, “Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbours, our co-workers, our sports heroes.”