Last month, the first wife and son of the late, great Muhammad Ali were detained at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for more than two hours and asked questions about their religious faith. The two appeared on MSNBC to detail their experience earlier this week.
“He asked me ‘What is your religion?’ And I was like why would you ever ask me what my religion is, does it matter,” Muhammad Ali, Jr. told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle.
Ali’s father was known for many things, including his conversion to the Nation of Islam and changing his name from Cassius Clay to the one many would associate with the greatest boxer of all-time.
While waiting for more nearly two hours, authorities told Ali that they “were checking on something.”
“I was like, ‘Okay, but I been waiting an hour and 45 minutes for you to check something,'” Ali said. “So I’m like, ‘I got other things to do like where’s my mother at?’ I was worried about her, I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know.”
Fortunately, Ali’s mother was in the other room and was allowed to leave only after showing authorities a picture of her and the late Ali together.
“I felt very uncomfortable and Muhammad Ali, everybody knows him as a person that stands up for what you believe in. I been a Muslim all my whole life and I never encountered such a thing,” said Khalilah Camacho-Ali. “We must carry on that legend because if we let people get away with it now then it will be no end to the trauma.”
Many suspect that Ali and his mother’s detainment was a direct result of President Trump’s national campaign against Muslim,s both in and outside of U.S. borders. Especially since he has no criminal record, is a U.S. citizen and carries a U.S. passport. When asked how he’d respond if Trump apologized, Ali responded by saying, “I’m not American? I don’t get it, I really don’t.”
Being Muslim makes him, his mother and anyone else no less American than anyone else.