Muhammad Ali Responds to Trump’s Muslim Ban Proposal

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

How to Make ‘You Ain’t No Muslim, Bruv’ Stick.

“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 goes 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 use Islam to advance their own personal agenda”. Trump and his idea became the scourge of the world, drawing angry reactions from world leaders, New Yorkers, the White House and Republican leaders on Tuesday.

True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.” Ali’s punch came just three days after Trump said on Twitter that he couldn’t recall any great American Muslim athletes — even though he’s met Ali several times. Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the killers behind the San Bernardino massacre, were radicalized in 2013 and pledged allegiance to ISIS on their Facebook pages. Yet none of us have come close to the words of the bystander who, witnessing Saturday’s stabbing at a London Underground station, told the attacker, “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv.” One of the terrorists involved in last month’s Paris attacks was known to spend his days drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis, both habits forbidden to the observant Muslim.

Even with advanced Parkinson’s disease having severely limited his speech and mobility, the 73-year-old icon continues to lend 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 detained Jason Rezaian a “man of peace and great faith” who used 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.

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 majority of Muslims—as shocked by these recent attacks as their non-Muslim neighbors have been—now wonder how they can reclaim their religion as one that isn’t at odds with modern Western living. They have chosen their path and sided with people who mean our civilization harm, who throw gay men off buildings and brutalize women and people of other faiths. And this is why all of us in the West—individuals as well as governments—should think about our reaction to the rise of Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and the terror it spreads.

Stigmatizing or fearing young Muslims, singling them out based on their religion, is exactly what Islamic State wants, because it sows the seeds of an identity crisis that can then be exploited. They are shown images of what are claimed to be Western attacks on Muslims and told they can never live a life worthy of Paradise so long as they are surrounded by such Western decadence and temptation. In my own London constituency, we have The Unity of Faiths Foundation (TUFF) FC, a football club that not only teaches athletic skills but also a respect for rules and boundaries, discipline and teamwork.

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