U.S. Boxing legend Muhammad Ali lashed out at Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump's plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States, which has won him international condemnation.
Ali, who converted to Islam in the 1960s, also criticized Islamic extremists.
“I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world,” Ali said.
“True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.”
He went on to say, "These misguided murderers have perverted people's views on what Islam really is."
Trump's statement calling for a total ban on all Muslims entering the US is nuts. I'd like to see Trump tell that to Muhammad Ali.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) December 7, 2015
It's evident that Trump isn't aware of US sporting history.... Some of the greatest athletes were Muslims ☺ Ali, Tyson, Abdul Jabbar? ☺— Muhammed Mustaqim (@mo_whufc20) December 7, 2015
The former boxer also said there was “nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world".
The three-time world heavyweight boxing champion called on Muslims to stand up to all those who exploit Islam for personal reasons, referring to Trump, who is the current Republican frontrunner, some six weeks ahead of party primary elections to choose their nominees to the 2016 presidential elections.
“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 in a 132-word statement.
Ali, 73, is today a champion of humanitarian causes. In March, he asked Iran to release of Jazon Rezaian, a Washington Post journalist, who as of Dec. 7 has been in solitary confinement after being found guilty of espionage.
The former Olympic gold medalist said Rezaian is a “man of peace and great faith. He 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 called on the Iranian government to release two U.S. hikers that had been detained near the border with Iraq.
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