Video: Muslims honor Muhammad Ali, their champion

Muhammad Ali’s family, along with thousands of others, attended his janazah service in Louisville. “A little Arab boy in Egypt, a little Gujarati boy in India, a little black boy in Baltimore.”

Hany Abdelkader, Taj Saiyed and Naeem Muhammad are now grown Muslim men living in America. Before that, they were children on three continents who discovered that the humanitarian heavyweight champion was a Muslim, too.

It mattered. It still matters. If Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, as his daughter Hana said this week, that only made it more special to Muslims that he belonged to them.

“Even the name Muhammad,” said Naeem Muhammad, 40, who works for the Islamic Relief humanitarian group. “My last name is Muhammad. It’s from our prophet. But most people know Muhammad because of Muhammad Ali.”

Ali will be mourned by kings and presidents on Friday at a funeral service befitting a global icon. Yesterday, he was mourned by his fellow believers. Thousands of Muslims: Abdelkader, Saiyed and Muhammad among them  came from across the country for the customary Islamic funeral service, or janazah, in a cavernous grey exhibition hall in Ali’s hometown in Louisville, Ky.

Yusuf Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, helped carry the casket. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan was there, and the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, plus hundreds of non-Muslims, including Rev. Jesse Jackson.

But it was mostly average Muslims of all denominations and races. They remembered Ali like everyone else does: a winner, a wit, an example. They also described the champion as their champion — the country’s leading ambassador for a group frequently maligned or misunderstood.

“Beyond what Islam did for Ali, Ali did something for Islam, especially in America. Ali did more to normalize Islam in this country than perhaps any other Muslim in the history of the United States,” Sherman Jackson, a leading scholar of America’s black Muslims, said in a eulogy.

See photos from the janazah service after the cut…

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 Culled from the star

Posted by Razyblaze Gist at 5:00am

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