Re­port: Ali’s son was de­tained at Fla. air­port

The Washington Post Sunday - - ALLMETSPORTS.COM - BY MARISSA PAYNE marissa.payne@wash­post.com

Muham­mad Ali Jr. had just re­turned to Florida from Ja­maica, where he had ac­com­pa­nied his mother, Khalilah Ca­ma­choAli, who was there giv­ing a speech about black his­tory. Af­ter ar­riv­ing at the Fort Laud­erdale­Hol­ly­wood air­port, Ali Jr. — son of one of the great­est box­ers of all time — was de­tained and asked at least twice about his re­li­gion, ac­cord­ing to family friend and at­tor­ney Chris Mancini. Ali — born in Philadel­phia in 1972 — and his mother are both Mus­lim.

“To the Ali family, it’s crys­tal clear that this is di­rectly linked to [Pres­i­dent] Trump’s ef­forts to ban Mus­lims from the United States,” Mancini told the Couri­erJour­nal of Louisville on Fri­day about the al­leged in­ci­dent, which oc­curred on Feb. 7.

Late last month Trump signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der calling for a tem­po­rary travel ban on ci­ti­zens from seven Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries in the Mid­dle East and Africa. The or­der, which crit­ics ac­cused of be­ing a thinly veiled at­tempt to dis­crim­i­nate against Mus­lims, has since been re­jected by a fed­eral ap­peals court and ef­fec­tively over­turned. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Mancini, that hasn’t stopped gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives from dis­crim­i­nat­ing based on re­li­gion, which is how he said Ali Jr. ended up be­ing de­tained, de­spite his hold­ing a U.S. pass­port.

Mancini told the Courier-Jour­nal on Fri­day that Ali and his mother were ini­tially flagged by im­mi­gra­tion agents for their “Ara­bic-sound­ing” names. He said Ca­ma­cho-Ali was not de­tained af­ter she showed of­fi­cials a pho­to­graph of her­self with her ex­hus­band, but when Ali Jr. could not pro­duce a pho­to­graph to show of him­self with his fa­ther, who died last year, im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials sep­a­rated Ali Jr. from his mother, then de­tained him for ap­prox­i­mately two hours.

Mancini told the Miami New Times that im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers asked Ali Jr. about his re­li­gion within the first 30 min­utes of be­ing de­tained and again when he was taken to a small hold­ing room where he was held for an­other 90 min­utes.

“What right does the United States have to in­quire about some­body’s re­li­gion when they en­ter the coun­try?” Mancini told the New Times. “There was no other ba­sis for a sec­ondary in­spec­tion. This is an in­stance where the ban has been en­forced even though it has been thrown out. The gov­ern­ment is still try­ing to find grounds to keep Mus­lims out.”

U.S. Cus­toms and Border Pro­tec­tion has re­fused to com­ment on the specifics on the al­leged de­ten­tion, not­ing to the Couri­erJour­nal, that “due to the re­stric­tions of the Pri­vacy Act, U.S. Cus­toms and Border Pro­tec­tion can­not dis­cuss in­di­vid­ual trav­el­ers.” The spokesper­son added, “How­ever, all in­ter­na­tional trav­el­ers ar­riv­ing in the U.S. are sub­ject to CBP in­spec­tion.”

The Wash­ing­ton Post has reached out to a spokesman from the late boxer’s family for fur­ther com­ment.

Mancini told the Courier-Jour­nal that im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials even­tu­ally al­lowed Ali Jr. back into the coun­try, where he was able to then re­unite with his mother, who had asked lo­cal po­lice for help in the mean­time. How­ever, be­cause cus­toms of­fi­cials are un­der fed­eral ju­ris­dic­tion, lo­cal po­lice were pow­er­less.

Ali Jr. and his mother live in Deer­field Beach, Fla., about 20 miles from the air­port.

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