Muhammad Ali's son asked, 'Are you Muslim?' by border agents

Muhammad Ali's son, who bears the boxing great's name, was detained by immigration officials at a Florida airport and questioned about his ancestry and religion in what amounted to unconstitutional profiling, a family friend mentioned Saturday. Ali Jr.,...

Muhammad Ali's son asked, 'Are you Muslim?' by border agents

Muhammad Ali's son, who bears the boxing great's name, was detained by immigration officials at a Florida airport and questioned about his ancestry and religion in what amounted to unconstitutional profiling, a family friend mentioned Saturday.

Ali Jr., 44, who confirmed his Muslim faith, was detained about two hours, in spite of telling officials that he's Ali's son and a native-born U.S. citizen, mentioned Chris Mancini, a household friend and attorney.

Returning from a Black History Month event in Jamaica, Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother, Khalilah Camacho Ali, have been pulled aside and separated from each and every other on Feb. 7 at the immigration checkpoint at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, said Mancini.

Camacho Ali was released a brief time later soon after displaying a photo of herself with her ex-husband, the former heavyweight boxing champion, Mancini said. But Ali Jr. was not carrying a photo of his world-renowned father — a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

It was the initial time Ali Jr. and his mother have ever been asked if they are Muslim when re-entering the United States, Mancini mentioned.

"From the way they have been treated, from what was mentioned to them, they can come up with no other rational explanation except they fell into a profiling plan run by customs, which is designed to acquire data from any person who says they are a Muslim," Mancini mentioned in a telephone interview. "It is pretty clear that what triggered his detention was his Arabic name and his religion."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Daniel Hetlage confirmed Saturday evening that Ali Jr. was held for questioning by customs officers, but stated "it wasn't since he's a Muslim and it wasn't since of his Arabic-sounding name."

The agency stated in a statement that its officers method extra than 1.two million international travelers each day with "vigilance and in accordance with the law." It mentioned it does not discriminate primarily based on religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

"We treat all travelers with respect and sensitivity," the agency said. "Integrity is our cornerstone. We are guided by the highest ethical and moral principles."

Throughout his detention, Ali Jr. was asked repeatedly about his lineage and his name, "as if that was a pre-programmed question that was portion of a profile," Mancini mentioned.

Ali Jr. and his mother have been frequent international travelers. The loved ones connects their remedy to President Donald Trump's efforts to restrict immigration after calling through his campaign for a ban on Muslims getting into the U.S.

"This has never ever happened to them before," Mancini said. "They're asked particularly about their Arabic names. Where they got their names from and irrespective of whether they're Muslims. It does not take significantly to connect those dots to what Trump is doing."

Camacho Ali and Ali Jr. live in Florida. They have not traveled abroad due to the fact, and are taking into consideration filing a federal lawsuit, he said.

Asked why the matter was just now coming to light, Mancini said: "Khalilah had prior commitments as did I and when she ultimately got in to see me for a legal opinion of what they did, I brought it to the media straight away."

Ali, the 3-time heavyweight champion and humanitarian, died last June at age 74 soon after a long battle with Parkinson's illness. People lined the streets of Louisville, Kentucky, to say goodbye to the city's most celebrated son prior to a star-studded memorial service watched worldwide.

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