Washington: In a shocking development, it has been revealed that the son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was detained for hours by immigration officials earlier this month at a Florida airport, and was repeatedly asked about his religion.
Muhammad Ali Jr., 44, and his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the first wife of Muhammad Ali, were arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on February 7 after an event in Jamaica, when they were pulled aside while going through customs because of their Arabic-sounding names, reports media on Saturday quoting Ali’s family friend and lawyer Chris Mancini.
Camacho-Ali was let go after she showed them a photo of herself with her ex-husband, however, her son was not so lucky as he was badgered for two straight hours, where he was repeatedly asked “”Where did you get your name from?” and “Are you Muslim?”
When Ali Jr. responded that yes, he is a Muslim, the officers kept questioning him about his religion and where he was born.
Mancini said he and the Ali family are contemplating filing a federal lawsuit and are currently trying to find out how many other people have been subjected to the same treatment as Ali Jr.
“Imagine walking into an airport and being asked about your religion. This is classic customs profiling,” he said.
Mancini also emphasised that the line of questioning was clearly designed to produce answers that corroborate what officials want to hear, adding that neither Camacho-Ali nor Ali Jr. have ever been subjected to detainment before, despite extensive global travel experience.
“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 Trump’s executive order signed Jan. 27 that instituted a ban for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.