Former world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, who converted to Islam in the 1960s, returned to the public spotlight Wednesday night to say that political leaders had a responsibility to foster understanding about his religion. His comments came after Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, stoked anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States by, among other things, suggesting that foreign Muslims be barred from traveling to the country. Trump has also questioned President Obama’s affirmation that Muslim Americans are some of the nation’s sports heroes.
In a statement delivered to NBC, Ali did not speak about Trump directly but addressed his message to “Presidential Candidates Proposing to Ban Muslim Immigration to the United States.” He added: “We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda,” Ali said in the statement. “They have alienated many from learning about Islam.”
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