Washington - Muhammad Ali rebuked Donald
Trump over his call to ban Muslims from entering the United States, news
reports said on Wednesday, as the boxing icon became just the latest high-profile
name to lay into the presidential hopeful.
Ali, a Muslim, did not mention the
Republican frontrunner by name, but a statement by the former heavyweight champ
- reported by NBC and ABC - appeared directed squarely at Trump.
"Speaking as someone who has never
been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders
should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam
and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people's views on
what Islam really is," said the statement, referring also to recent terror
Ali, 73, was somewhat thrust into the
debate when President Barack Obama mentioned Muslims were US soldiers and
citizens and sports heroes, and Trump challenged people to think of a Muslim
"I am a Muslim and there is nothing
Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere
else in the world," the statement attributed to Ali said.
"True Muslims know that the ruthless
violence of so-called Islamic jihadists goes against the very tenets of our
An outspoken champion in his youth, Ali won
the world heavyweight crown only to be banned from boxing for nearly four years
in his prime for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War on religious grounds.
He was found guilty of draft evasion but
the Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1971 and his fight made him an
iconic figure well beyond the sports world.