Muhammad Ali hit out against Islamic extremists and Donald Trump’s 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 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”.
He added: “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.”
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 Trump’s sweeping proposal for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”, made 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 murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is,” Ali said.