Muhammad Ali's son, who bears the boxing great's name, was detained by immigration officials at a Florida airport and questioned about his ancestry and religion in what amounted to unconstitutional profiling, a family pal said Saturday.
Returning from a Black History Month event in Jamaica, Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother, Khalilah Camacho Ali, were pulled aside and separated from every other on Feb. 7 at the immigration checkpoint at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, said Chris Mancini, a family members buddy and attorney.
Camacho Ali was released a quick time later following displaying a photo of herself with her ex-husband, the former heavyweight boxing champion, Mancini said. But Ali Jr. was not carrying a photo of his planet-renowned father — a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Ali Jr., 44, who confirmed his Muslim faith, was detained about two hours, in spite of telling officials that he's Ali's son and a native-born U.S. citizen, Mancini stated. It was the 1st time Ali Jr. and his mother have ever been asked if they are Muslim when re-getting into the United States, he stated.
"From the way they had been treated, from what was mentioned to them, they can come up with no other rational explanation except they fell into a profiling program run by customs, which is made to receive data from any one who says they're a Muslim," Mancini stated in a telephone interview. "It's really clear that what triggered his detention was his Arabic name and his religion."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Daniel Hetlage confirmed Saturday evening that Ali Jr. was held for questioning by customs officers, but stated "it wasn't simply because he's a Muslim and it wasn't mainly because of his Arabic-sounding name."
The agency stated in a statement that its officers approach a lot more than 1.2 million international travelers everyday with "vigilance and in accordance with the law." It stated it does not discriminate based on religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
"We treat all travelers with respect and sensitivity," the agency mentioned. "Integrity is our cornerstone. We are guided by the highest ethical and moral principles."
During his detention, Ali Jr. was asked repeatedly about his lineage and his name, "as if that was a pre-programmed query that was portion of a profile," Mancini stated.
Ali Jr. and his mother have been frequent international travelers. The household connects their treatment to President Donald Trump's efforts to restrict immigration just after calling during his campaign for a ban on Muslims getting into the U.S.
"This has in no way happened to them just before," Mancini said. "They are asked specifically about their Arabic names. Exactly where they got their names from and whether or not they're Muslims. It doesn't take much to connect those dots to what Trump is carrying out."
Camacho Ali and Ali Jr. reside in Florida. They have not traveled abroad because, and are thinking about filing a federal lawsuit, he stated.
Asked why the matter was just now coming to light, Mancini mentioned: "Khalilah had prior commitments as did I and when she lastly got in to see me for a legal opinion of what they did, I brought it to the media quickly."
Ali, the 3-time heavyweight champion and humanitarian, died final June at age 74 immediately after a extended battle with Parkinson's illness. Folks lined the streets of Louisville, Kentucky, to say goodbye to the city's most celebrated son before a star-studded memorial service watched worldwide.
This story has been corrected to "his" not "the" in border protection spokesman's quote.
Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.