Mohammad Ali Jr., son of whom is commonly known as “the greatest” boxer in history, was held for questioning at an airport in Florida regarding concerns about his religion. According to his lawyer and past assistant U.S. attorney, Chris Mancini, Mohammad Ali Jr. was taken aside for further assessment on February 7th when he and mother Khalilah returned from visiting Jamaica.
Officials of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport allowed for the release of Ali’s mother after seeing a picture of herself and then-husband boxing legend. Mancini also pointed out that despite this, Ali Jr. had been interrogated for almost two hours repeatedly asked questions such as: “Where were you born?” “Are you a Muslim?” and “Where did you get your name from?”. The forty-four-year-old U.S. Muslim citizen was born in 1972 in Philadelphia state.
When questioned, the U.S Customs and Border Protection replied they are not at liberty to discuss any details regarding individual passengers under the strict restrictions of the Privacy Act. Their written response included the statement that, “All international travelers arriving in the U.S. are subject to CBP inspection”.
Mancini also noted these questions fall under the category of “profile questions” which could violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in addition to the 1st and 14th Amendments of the Constitution.
Mohammad Ali Jr. stated that the incident seemed to be in direct relation to Trump’s executive order to monitor Muslims entering the United States as “extreme vetting”. Mancini agreed with his opinion stating,” We do not discriminate on the basis of religion — that’s been one of the basic, foundational principles of life in America since this country was founded — and then along comes Donald Trump, who pledges in his campaign that he’s going to ban all Muslims”.
Mancini is currently aiming to research similar reported incidences in pursue of a federal lawsuit as Ali’s experience has become increasingly shared by other citizens since the Trump administration. Mancini expressed: “I believe we’re starting to see that they have a program in place to do this through executive action, through the agencies he controls — Homeland Security, immigration, customs. Muhammad Ali Jr., he just stepped into that.”