Muhammad Ali Jr., the son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, was detained at a Florida airport. Muhammad Ali, was an American professional boxer and activist and is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century. His son, according to the family's lawyer Chris Mancini, was detained because of his Arabic-sounding name.
Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother Khalilah Camacho-Ali, were returning to the U.S. from a Black History Month event in Jamaica when they were pulled aside at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on February 7. The authorities were apparently suspicious of their names.
Camacho-Ali had a photo of herself with her husband that she showed the immigration officials, and she was let go. Muhammad Ali Jr., however, was reportedly questioned for two hours, as officials asked him if he was Muslim and where he got his name from.
Even after he confirmed his faith, Ali continued to receive questions on his religion. Ali Jr., who was born in Philadelphia in 1972 and holds a U.S. passport, was also quizzed about his nationality.
Meanwhile, his bewildered mother ran around the airport, asking "Where's my son?" and begged for help. Since matters concerning customs are considered to be on federal soil, local police were unable to help her. Ali Jr. was eventually released after two hours. The next day, the family contacted their lawyer Mancini.
"To the Ali family, it's crystal clear that this is directly linked to Mr. Trump's efforts to ban Muslims from the United States," Mancini said, referring to President Donald Trump's executive order banning citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Ali was not detained because of his faith, but the Alis have their doubts. The family is presently contemplating filing a federal lawsuit.
This line of questioning is evident of a growing hostility for Muslims in America. Muhammad Ali Jr. has a U.S. passport, is the son of a global icon but, thanks to a name betraying his faith, he was relentlessly questioned for two hours.