Muhammad Ali has criticized Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering America.
Without naming Donald Trump, the 73-year-old boxing legend said that Muslims “have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda”.
The three-time world heavyweight champion is a cultural icon and one of the world’s most famous Muslims.
Donald Trump says he will never leave the race, despite widespread criticism.
The White House had said that the Republican presidential hopeful’s comments about Muslims “disqualified” him from running for the presidency.
Muhammad Ali’s statement was directed at “presidential candidates proposing to ban Muslim immigration to the United States”.
“They have alienated many from learning about Islam,” he said.
Muhammad Ali also strongly criticized violence committed by jihadists from ISIS.
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“True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion,” he said.
“These misguided murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.”
Meanwhile, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg also expressed solidarity with Muslims.
In a Facebook post on December 9, Mark Zuckerberg wrote: “After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others.
“As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. If you’re a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights.”
In his statement, Muhammad Ali said there was there was “nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world”.
The former boxer was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, after quitting the sport. Born by the name of Cassius Clay, he converted to Islam and changed his name in 1964.
Muhammad Ali’s statement comes after President Barack Obama’s TV address to the nation on December 6, in which he called on Americans to turn away from discrimination.
“Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes,” President Barack Obama said.
Donald Trump reacted to Barack Obama’s statement saying: “Obama said in his speech that Muslims are our sports heroes. What sport is he talking about, and who?”
The New York billionaire has met Muhammad Ali several times, and even received an award named after the former heavyweight champion in 2007.
Donald Trump’s comments about Muslims came after the deadly shootings in San Bernardino, California.
He called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.
A Muslim couple, believed to have been radicalized, killed 14 people at a health centre and left scores injured.
Donald Trump is the current frontrunner among the Republicans running for president, six weeks before the primary contests begin for each party to pick their nominee.
New declassified documents reveal the US National Security Agency spied on Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali during the height of the Vietnam War protests.
The documents show the NSA also tracked journalists from the New York Times and the Washington Post and two senators.
Some NSA officials later described the programme as “disreputable if not outright illegal”, the documents show.
The operation, dubbed “Minaret”, was originally exposed in the 1970s.
However, the names of those on the phone-tapping “watch list” had been kept secret until now.
The secret papers were published after a government panel ruled in favor of researchers at George Washington University.
New declassified documents reveal the NSA spied on Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali during the height of the Vietnam War protests
The university’s National Security Archive – a research institute that seeks to check government secrecy – described the names on the NSA’s watch-list as “eye-popping”.
The NSA eavesdropped on civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Whitney Young as well as boxing champion Muhammad Ali, New York Times journalist Tom Wicker and WashingtonPost columnist Art Buchwald.
The agency also monitored the overseas phone calls of two prominent US senators – Democrat Frank Church and Republican Howard Baker.
Many of those targeted were considered to be critics of US involvement in the Vietnam War.
In 1967 the strength of the anti-war campaign led President Lyndon Johnson to ask US intelligence agencies to find out if some protests were being stoked by foreign governments.
The NSA worked with other spy agencies to draw up the “watch lists” of anti-war critics, tapping their phone calls.
The programme continued after President Richard Nixon entered the White House in 1969. US Attorney General Elliot Richardson shut down the NSA programme in 1973, just as the Nixon administration was engulfed in the Watergate scandal.
The latest revelations come as the NSA is embroiled in fresh controversy over its surveillance programmes.
US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden recently exposed far-reaching electronic surveillance of phone records and internet traffic by the agency.
Researchers Matthew Aid and William Burr, who published the documents on Wednesday, said the spying abuses during the Vietnam War era far surpassed any excesses of the current programme.
“As shocking as the recent revelations about the NSA’s domestic eavesdropping have been, there has been no evidence so far of today’s signal intelligence corps taking a step like this, to monitor the White House’s political enemies,” they wrote.
Muhammad Ali’s family is locked in a bitter feud over the former heavyweight boxing champion as his life slips away, his brother, Rahman Ali, claimed.
Rahman Ali said his sister-in-law Lonnie has cut off Muhammad Ali from his family and is “draining” him as his mental and physical faculties are eroded by Parkinson’s disease.
Muhammad Ali’s brother lives in poverty in a small flat in his family’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where the boxing legend owns one of his three mansion homes.
Rahman Ali said he and his family had been barred from visiting the three-time heavyweight world champion and could only speak to him on the phone.
“We’ve all been pushed out. The only time I get to see him is at public events,” said Rahman Ali, himself an ex-boxer.
“She and her family are draining him. It’s so sad. There’s nothing I can do, they’ve blocked us all off.”
Rahman Ali, 69, said his 71-year-old brother was so crippled by Parkinson’s, the degenerative brain condition that has afflicted many ex-boxers, he might not survive until the summer.
“My brother can’t speak – he doesn’t recognize me. He’s in a bad way. He’s very sick,” Rahman Ali told a Sunday newspaper.
“It could be months, it could be days.”
Rahman Ali said his sister-in-law Lonnie has cut off Muhammad Ali from his family and is “draining” him as his mental and physical faculties are eroded by Parkinson’s disease
Rahman Ali, who retired from boxing after suffering several strokes, said he last saw his famous brother in July last year at the Sports for Peace Gala in London.
He said that in the days when his brother could still communicate, he had told him he was not in pain, adding: “I’ve achieved everything I’ve ever wanted to accomplish. Don’t cry for me, I’m in no pain.”
Rahman Ali also claims that his brother, estimated to be worth more than $80million, told him he had set up a trust fund for him. But his sister-in-law had “put a stop to it”.
He added that Muhammad Ali’s nine children were also having trouble getting hold of their father.
Rahman Ali said the closest they get is when Lonnie puts him on the phone, although he is only able to breathe down the line.
“If he knew what was happening and where I’m living now, he’d be as mad as hell, so angry,” Rahman Ali said.
“If he saw what was happening with his children, he’d go crazy.”
The two brothers – born Cassius and Rudolph Clay – were the only two children of poor parents, who worked as a billboard painter and a household domestic.
Rahman Ali copied his brother when he changed his name, but his career in boxing was short-lived and he retired in the 1960s.
Muhammad Ali has been married four times. Yolanda “Lonnie” Williams, became wife number four in Louisville in 1986.
Angelina Jolie has invited the Duchess of Cambridge to the Olympics party she is throwing alongside fiancé Brad Pitt.
The Hollywood couple has hired out London’s Victoria and Albert and are hosting an Olympics-themed Night At The Museum.
The party, to take place on 25 July, two days before the official Olympics party, is to be held in honor of sporting heavyweight Muhammad Ali.
The glamorous soiree is intended to raise funds for the couple’s chosen charity, Sports for Peace.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, who are currently renting in London while Angelina is filming for her movie, Maleficient (and rumored to be moving to the UK on a more permanent basis) plan to throw open the doors to their $30 million townhouse for the mother of all after-parties.
Angelina Jolie has invited the Duchess of Cambridge to the Olympics party she is throwing alongside fiancé Brad Pitt
A source told the Daily Mirror: “The who’s who of British and American celebrity will be in attendance, and invitees have been ordered not to take any photos from their phones.”
Other invited A-listers include David and Victoria Beckham, Sharon Stone, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Prince Harry.
Whether Kate Middleton and Prince William accept the invitation remains to be seen but one thing’s for sure, if Kate does make an appearance, all eyes will be on the wardrobe choices of the event’s two leading ladies.