Boxing legend Muhammad Ali died at age 74 on Friday night, leaving a nation in grief. The sports superstar has always been known for his controversial opinions, and when it came to Donald Trump, that was no different.
Trump had often referred to the towering figure that was Muhammad Ali as his “friend,” but it appears the former boxing champ’s opinions about the billionaire businessman’s politics was a concerned one.
The Washington Post reports this is what Ali said about the presumptive Republican presidential candidate:
“We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda,” Ali said in a statement first released to NBC News. “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.”
Although the statement does not name Trump by name, it is self-evidently directed at the would-be GOP nominee, as it is entitled, “Presidential Candidates Proposing to Ban Muslim Immigration to the United States.” There is only one candidate who made such a proposal: Donald Trump.
Donald Trump famously made waves earlier in the 2016 campaign season by calling for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States–a position he seemed to back off of later–calling it a “suggestion.”
In the statement addressing Trump’s Muslim ban suggestion, Ali also condemned Islamic terrorism:
“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.”
Muhammad Ali shocked the world in 1964 when he announced his name change from Cassius Clay to his now-famous religious name. After he was drafted, Ali became a ‘conscientious objector’ to fighting in the Vietnam War, which led to his heavyweight title being stripped from him and three years’ probation from boxing.
“I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there — it’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam era. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”
In response to Muhammad Ali’s passing, Donald Trump tweeted the following message: “Muhammad Ali is dead at 74! A truly great champion and a wonderful guy. He will be missed by all!”