The Trump administration’s discriminatory executive orders have violated the civil rights of the son of an American civil rights icon, boxer Muhammad Ali. Federal border officials in Fort Lauderdale’s airport detained legendary boxing champion Muhammad Ali Jr. for no other apparent reason other than his Muslim name as the American citizen was returning home from a trip to Jamaica with his mother.
What’s even more ridiculous is that they let his mother go after she showed a photo of herself with The Champ, but her son, who shares a name with his father – was still detained without any reason or probable cause, all because of his name. Miami New Times reports:
Muhammad Ali Jr., the son of Muhammad Ali, was on his way back from Montego Bay, Jamaica, with his mother and Ali’s first wife, Khalilah, when immigration officers detained him. Khalilah showed officers a picture of herself with her ex-husband, who died last June 3, so she was not detained. Ali Jr. had no such photo.
Khalilah Ali married the boxer, who was then named Cassius Clay, in 1967 at the age of 17. They divorced ten years later. She had traveled to Jamaica to give a speech about black history.
Ali’s mother spoke with Radar about the incident, explaining that she got separated from her son when she decided to let him go through customs first, because he was in a wheelchair due to medical problems with his knees:
“I was standing in line and letting Muhammad go through immigration ahead of me, because he has bad knees and was using a wheelchair,” Camacho-Ali recalled. “I was signing autographs for other passengers who’d recognized me when I realized something was wrong.
“He said they asked him his religion and he told them he’s a Muslim and then they asked him where he got his name from and he said, ‘From my mother and father, Muhammad Ali.’”
TMZ reports that Ali Jr. is planning to sue the Department of Homeland Security over the incident, which happened on February 7th, four days after Trump’s Muslim ban was struck down by a federal court in Washington state.
Ali family friend Chris Mancini spoke harshly on behalf of the boxer’s family, condemning the federal agents’ religious-based discrimination as an “outrage.” Agents specifically questioned Ali Jr. about his religion, even though he had no national ties to the seven predominantly Muslim countries discriminated against by Trump. He’s a native of Philadelphia:
Ali Jr., age 44, had no criminal record and carries a United States passport, Mancini says. He recently moved to Deerfield Beach to live with his mother. Last year, Ali Jr. received a large share of his father’s multimillion-dollar fortune.
Shamefully, in Trump’s America, forward progress in civil rights hasn’t just been halted, as Muhammad Ali Jr.’s detainment shows. Our country is rapidly moving backward to a time when our law enforcement officers and federal officials were encouraged to take discriminatory action against minorities with the blessing of legislated racism.
Our country’s economy is already beginning to feel the pain, as America’s new Gestapo approach towards Muslims is causing the number of foreign persons flying into America to drop by 17%, barely a month after the Orange One took office.
Muhammad Ali Jr. isn’t a public figure like his father, who spoke out for civil rights and campaigned against global colonialism, but like all Americans, he’s entitled to equal treatment under the Constitution no matter his name, religious preferences or place of origin.
American law enforcement has no reason to be afraid of Muhammad Ali Jr. because of his Muslim religion, but the have every reason to fear the truth of his words in court, as those truths could set others free of the wicked regime of religious discrimination which the Trump regime is so desperate to deploy along our borders.
— Muhammad Ali (@MuhammadAli) January 26, 2017
H/T Jerry Iannelli
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition