Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has spent the last few days putting his foot in his mouth. His proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States landed him in enough trouble, and his latest critics packed some extra punch.
Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali weighed in Wednesday on the Trump controversy, with the former declaring the Republican “ISIS’s greatest triumph.”
“[He is] the perfect Manchurian Candidate who, instead of offering specific and realistic policies, preys on the fears of the public, doing ISIS’s job for them,” the six-time NBA champion wrote in an op-ed for Time magazine. “Trump’s irresponsible, inflammatory rhetoric and deliberate propagation of misinformation have created a frightened and hostile atmosphere here that could embolden people to violence.”
He even likened the billionaire to the “swaggering guy” in old Western movies who buys drinks for everyone while “whipping them up for a lynching.”
Meanwhile, former boxing champion Muhammad Ali also criticized the presidential frontrunner for his anti-Islamic rhetoric and called on Muslims to “to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda.”
“I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino or anywhere else in the world,” Ali wrote in a statement provided to NBC News on Wednesday. “True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.”
Although the sports icon did not identify Trump by name, his statement was directed at “presidential candidates proposing to ban Muslim immigration to the United States.”
“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,” Ali added. “They have alienated many from learning about Islam.”
When President Barack Obama addressed the nation Sunday night and said, “Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes,” Trump quipped, “What sport is he talking about, and who?”
Well, it is about time the business mogul got an answer to that fake bafflement — because Trump has not only met Ali several times, but also received an award named after the legendary athlete in 2007.
Trump fans and supporters should also take a look at this video featuring Will Smith and the legendary boxer to get some perspective: