CAIRO – Widely remembered as one of the all-time greatest American athletes, Muhammad Ali was an outspoken Muslim convert, whose Islamic faith was central to his message of peace, empathy, and social justice.
After he reverted to Islam, the world champion became the unofficial spokesman for millions of blacks and oppressed people around the world.
Here follows some of the most remarkable quotes about Islam and Muslims:
After terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, Ali offered these words:
“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.”
Ali also continued to fight for tolerance against Donald Trump, who proposed a ban on Muslims late last year:
“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.”
After the World Trade Centre attack:
“What’s really hurting me – the name Islam is involved, and Muslim is involved and causing trouble and starting hate and violence. Islam is not a killer religion, Islam means peace. I couldn’t just sit home and watch people label Muslims as the reason for this problem.”
In Seattle for a benefit for Sugar Ray Seales, he famously said:
“People say I talk so slow today. That’s no surprise. I calculated I’ve taken 29,000 punches. But I earned $57 million and I saved half of it. So I took a few hard knocks. Do you know how many black men are killed every year by guns and knives without a penny to their names? I may talk slow, but my mind is OK.” – Ali, January 20, 1984.
He wanted the American people to know that they needed to accept people like him:
“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”