Free Press Journal

Muhammad Ali’s son detained at airport, asked ‘Are you Muslim?’

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Washington, United states : Son of boxing legend Muhammad Ali was held for questioning for two hours at a Florida airport upon returning from Jamaica because of his Arabic-sounding name, US media reported late on Friday.

Muhammad Ali Junior, 44, who was born in Philadelphia and has a US passport, was traveling with his mother Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the late sports icon’s second wife, friend and lawyer Chris Mancini told the Louisville Courier-Journal.

The lawyer told the newspaper that both were held for questioning on the Fort Lauderdale International Airport on February 7 because of their Arabic-sounding names.


Camacho-Ali, however, was released after she showed US Customs agents a photo of herself with her ex-husband.

Ali Jr. however had no such photo, and according to the lawyer was held for nearly two hours and repeatedly asked, “Where did you get your name from?” and “Are you Muslim?”

When he said that he, like his father, was a Muslim, the agents asked further probing questions.

“To the Ali family, it’s crystal clear that this is directly linked to Mr Trump’s efforts to ban Muslims from the US,” Mr Mancini told the Courier-Journal, a reference to President Donald Trump’s late January executive order imposing a 90-day entry ban for citizens of seven Muslim majority countries.

The travel ban has since been halted by a US federal court.

Mancini said he and the Ali family were trying to find out how many other people were stopped for similar questioning, and are considering a federal lawsuit.

Airport and Customs officials did not answer queries from the newspaper about the case.

Muhammad Ali, one of the iconic 20th century sports heroes, died after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease on June 3. He was 74.

Ali was celebrated as much for his three world heavyweight titles as for his civil rights battles outside the ring.

In 1964 he dropped his birth name of Cassius Clay when he converted to Islam.

The Louisville, Kentucky native was married four times and he is survived by seven daughters and two sons.