Earlier this week, Donald Trump made an insensitive, xenophobic comment regarding Muslims in sports.
It was callous, uneducated and downright untrue.
Obama said in his speech that Muslims are our sports heroes. What sport is he talking about, and who? Is Obama profiling? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2015
Immediately, the response was to educate Trump on whom Barack Obama may have been referring to when he mentioned our Muslim "sports heroes."
Now, those heroes are speaking out themselves.
On Wednesday, boxing legend Muhammad Ali and basketball icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar released independent statements slamming Trump's Islamophobic rhetoric.
Abdul-Jabbar, a US Department of State cultural ambassador, wrote an article for TIME.
In it, he wrote,
If violence can be an abstraction — and it can; that's what a threat is — the Trump campaign meets this definition. Thus, Trump is ISIS's greatest triumph: 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... Trump's irresponsible, inflammatory rhetoric and deliberate propagation of misinformation have created a frightened and hostile atmosphere that could embolden people to violence... The press immediately provided him with a list, as well as photos of Trump with prominent Muslim-American sports figures, including Shaquille O'Neal, Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali and, yes, me. What makes his statement even more insidious is the suggestion that, even if there were no Muslim sports heroes, Muslims would somehow be lesser people, less worthy. This cruel and dim-witted thinking is not the stuff presidents are made of.
In a statement, without directly referencing Trump, Ali said,
I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion. We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. 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. 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.
Well said, gentlemen.
Citations: MUSLIM-AMERICAN HEROES MUHAMMAD ALI AND KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR DENOUNCE DONALD TRUMP'S ISLAMOPHOBIA (VICE), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: What Donald Trump and ISIS Have in Common (TIME), Muhammad Ali Hits at Trump and 'Misguided Murderers' Sabotaging Islam (NBC News)