In a statement released this week, boxing icon Muhammad Ali (pictured) joined critics in rejecting U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump‘s suggestion that America deny entry to Muslims in light of last week’s U.S. terrorist attack, reports BBC.
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On Dec. 2, Muslim married couple Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook conducted a mass shooting after a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif.
The couple, who had a 6-month-old daughter, killed 14 of Farook’s co-workers and injured another 21.
While the pair were killed by police in a shoot-out, the attack has left the United States reeling since facts about the couple indicate that they pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and contacted at least two terrorist organizations abroad before their mass shooting, according to the LA Times.
By Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama appealed to Americans to not fall in to terrorist groups’ trap of persecuting all Muslims for the actions of a rogue few.
“We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam,” President Obama said. “That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse….
“It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim-Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL.”
By Monday, controversial Republican presidential front runner Trump would release his own response to the shootings:
Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.
Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine.
Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.
Americans Speak Out Against Trump
Barring Trump’s loyal fanbase, Trump’s comments have infuriated many, with even Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg responding to them in a Facebook post Wednesday:
After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others.
As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. If you’re a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights.”
And his Republican presidential hopeful peers also publicly condemned Trump’s remarks, with Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tweeting:
Donald Trump is unhinged. His “policy” proposals are not serious.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) December 7, 2015
And Ohio Gov. John Kasich adding, “This is just more of the outrageous divisiveness that characterizes his every breath and another reason why he is entirely unsuited to lead the United States.”
Of course, Democrats would respond to Trump’s statement, with presidential front runner Hillary Clinton tweeting:
Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim proposal is extreme—but not by the standards of the rest of the 2016 Republican field. https://t.co/B73y6uZne6
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 9, 2015
Trump’s hateful comments aren’t just an affront to our values—they’re a threat to our national security. pic.twitter.com/DUXg022w0e
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 8, 2015
In addition, Democratic National Committee Spokesman Christina Freundlich said, “Donald Trump is indeed a ‘net positive’ for the Republican Party — as their chairman called him — because he shows America what the Republican Party really stands for with his rhetoric that only helps enemies like ISIL/Daesh to recruit extremists.”
By Thursday, Ali would release his own statement, saying, “[Muslims] have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda.”
Ali also made sure to make a distinction between “true Muslims” and “Islamic jihadists”: “True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.
“These misguided murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.”
Ali also insisted that there was “nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world.”
The former heavyweight boxer changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali after converting to Islam in 1964.