Boxing legend Muhammad Ali released a statement on Dec. 9, calling on politicians to promote a better understanding of Islam in the wake of terrorist attacks. His comments follow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric.
“I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world,” Ali said in a statement to NBC News. “True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.”
“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,” he added.
While Ali did not specifically name Trump in his statement, he did reference the candidate’s controversial idea to ban Muslims from entering the United States, as well as calls to create a database for all Muslim citizens in the country.
“We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda,” Ali said. “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.”