By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
Montego Bay, Jamaica (February 25th, 2017)– The sense of love of boxing, love of people, and love of all humanity Muhammad Ali tried to create in his lifetime has been thrown out the window. It seems the name Muhammad Ali is not worth respect anymore, given the current state of American affairs in the war against terrorism.
Earlier this month, on February 7, 2017, at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Muhammad Ali Jr., age 44, son of the legendary heavyweight champion, and his mother Kalilah Camacho-Ali (Muhammad Ali’s ex-wife), were returning from Montego Bay, Jamaica, after giving speeches during Black History month. According to family attorney Chris Mancini, Mrs. Ali was detain but let go after she produced a photo of her with her ex-husband Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad Ali Jr. was not so fortunate.
Sadly, Muhammad Ali Jr. was detained for almost two hours by Homeland Security, being asked every possible question in the book to determine if he was a terrorist because of his Muslim name. Why are you Muslim? Where do you come from? Apparently, being the son of Muhammad Ali is no longer a worldwide diplomat credential to be respected. Indeed, it is now closer to a one way airplane ticket without trial to Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba. Granted, Muhammad Ali Jr. is not the public figure his father was, but his name is still a famous name. Now, having a Muslim sounding name gets you harassment and suspicion during Black History Month. Homeland Security deserves ever measure of respect. Its airport procedures currently in place-apparently-leave much to be desired in how they screen people entering the United States of America.
The implications of the Trump Era are undetermined. Whether or this is a side effect of the new Republican Administration depends on your viewpoint. The United States is now on a state of warning at a time of great concern in the war against terrorism. The only conclusion possible, based on this incident, is 2017 is a bad time to have an Islamic sounding name when you enter the United States, or even live in the United states.
For Muhammad Ali Jr., becoming a public figure finally happened in the shadow of his famous father, but in the worst possible way. Humbly, Ali survived his interrogation and did not lose his cool, perhaps a tribute to the aura of his famous father. The greater concern is-will incidents like these least to a great sense of Islamophobia and acts of hate against innocent Muslim people in the United States in the years to come? To that question, there is no answer. Muhammad Ali, and Muhammad Ali Jr., a famous name became a name of shame, through no fault of their own. Muhammad Ali is rolling over in his grave, and sportswriter Robert Brizel’s education is stopping racism on the surface is seen in Muhammad Ali Jr.’s disgraceful and unnecessary interrogation in Fort Lauderdale.