One of Muhammad Ali's final public statements refuted Donald Trump's Islamophobia

Muhammad Ali is dead at 74 years old. In the next few days, there will likely be a lot of looking back at Ali's athletic career — as one of the best boxers to ever live. But Ali was also Muslim, and in the last few months of his life, he refuted some of the Islamophobic rhetoric that has permeated the current presidential campaign.

Specifically, in December, a few days after Donald Trump suggested that there are no Muslim sports heroes, Ali struck back at the Republican presidential candidate's call to ban all Muslims from entering the US.

Ali said, in a statement first provided to NBC News, titled "Presidential Candidates Proposing to Ban Muslim Immigration to the United States":
One of Muhammad Ali's final public statements refuted Donald Trump's Islamophobia
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.

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.

One of Muhammad Ali's final public statements refuted Donald Trump's Islamophobia
It was nice to see a prominent figure like Ali stand up to Trump, who has built his political campaign on xenophobia and racism — by calling Mexican immigrants "rapists," arguingthat a federal judge should exclude himself from a court case against Trump Universitysolely because of his Mexican ethnicity, and, most relevant to Ali, proposing a ban on Muslims entering the US.

But it's also a bit tragic that we seem to expect prominent Muslim figures in the US to apologize for the actions of a few violent extremists who don't represent the majority of Muslim Americans.

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