The country and the world are mourning the loss of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, the man who proclaimed himself — to the agreement of many — “the greatest of all time.”
Ali — whose thrilling battles with Joe Frazier, George Foreman, and Ken Norton have become immortalized — passed away Friday at age 74. He had controversial opinions practically his entire life, ranging from the reason why he changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali and converting to Islam, to allowing himself to be stripped of the heavyweight title and go to prison for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War.
Before he died, Ali expressed one last controversial opinion, this time on the subject of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
While Trump is on record as calling Ali a friend, the legend of the boxing ring seemed to be very concerned about the New York billionaire’s politics.
According to NBC News, Ali had this to say about about Trump:
“We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda,” Ali said in a statement first released to NBC News in December. “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.”
Despite not calling Trump out by name, the man who used to “float like a butterfly” and “sting like a bee” was clearly referring to the billionaire since his statement was titled “Presidential Candidates Proposing to Ban Muslim Immigration to the United States,”and was issued just three days after Trump suggested banning all Muslims from entering the United States.
Trump later clarified that his comments about banning Muslims were more of a “suggestion” than a decree.
While Ali did not appreciate Trump’s Muslim ban comments, he also did not appreciate violence being carried out in the name of Islam.
“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 of the terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic terrorists. “True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.”
Upon hearing of Ali’s passing, Donald Trump took to Twitter — not to eviscerate a critic as he often does, but instead, to show respect and admiration.
“Muhammad Ali is dead at 74! A truly great champion and a wonderful guy. He will be missed by all!”
Muhammad Ali is dead at 74! A truly great champion and a wonderful guy. He will be missed by all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2016
h/t: Independent Journal