Mohammed Ali criticized Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering America.
Without naming Donald Trump, the 73-year-old boxing legend said Muslims “should oppose those who use Islam to develop their personal agendas.”
The three-time world heavyweight champion is a cultural icon and one of the most famous Muslims in the world.
Donald Trump says he will never leave the race, despite widespread criticism.
The White House said the Republican president’s comments on Muslims “disqualified” him from running for president.
Mohammed Ali’s statement was aimed at “presidential candidates proposing to ban Muslim immigration to the United States.”
“They alienate many from the study of Islam,” he said.
Mohammed Ali also strongly criticized the violence perpetrated by ISIS jihadists.
“True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so-called Islamic jihadists is contrary to the very principles of our religion.” he said.
“These deluded murderers have distorted people’s views of what Islam really is.”
Meanwhile, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg also expressed solidarity with Muslims.
In a post on Facebook on December 9, Mark Zuckerberg wrote: “After the attacks in Paris and the hatred this week, I can only imagine the fear that Muslims feel they will be persecuted for the actions of others.
“As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must oppose attacks on all communities. If you are a Muslim in this community, as a Facebook leader, I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights. “
In a statement, Mohammed Ali said that “there is nothing Islamic in the killing of innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino or anywhere else in the world.”
The former boxer was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984 after leaving the sport. Born Cassius Clay, he converted to Islam and changed his name in 1964.
Mohammed Ali’s statement comes after President Barack Obama’s televised address to the nation on December 6, in which he called on Americans to renounce discrimination.
“American Muslims are our friends and neighbors, our colleagues, our sports heroes.” President Barack Obama said.
Donald Trump responded to Barack Obama’s statement by saying: “Obama said in his speech that Muslims are our sports heroes. What sport is he talking about and for whom? “
The New York billionaire has met Mohamed Ali several times and even received an award named after the former heavyweight champion in 2007.
Donald Trump’s comments about Muslims came after the deadly shootings in San Bernardino, California.
He called for a “complete and complete suspension of Muslims entering the United States until the representatives of our country understand what is happening.”
A Muslim couple believed to have been radicalized killed 14 people at a health center and left dozens injured.
Donald Trump is the current favorite among Republicans running for president six weeks before the main contests for each party to choose their candidate.