- The media published obituaries rehashing his spectacular boxing career and accomplishments as a “civil rights champion” and “an emblem of strength, eloquence, conscience and courage” who spoke out against racism, war and religious intolerance.
- Then-POTUS Barack Obama issued a statement saying that Ali had fought for everyone, that he stood with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t. His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today.”
But Ali’s FBI files, obtained by the citizen watchdog group Judicial Watch, paint a very different portrait of the acclaimed boxer and activist.
Judicial Watch reports, May 3, 2017:
“The FBI files present a picture of the late heavyweight champion that is clearly at odds with much of the image portrayed at the time of his death last year. His deep involvement with the Nation of Islam and its racially divisive rhetoric and behavior is part of a record that deserves to be revealed and contradicts Ali’s image as a civil rights icon. The hundreds of pages of documents are related to the FBI’s investigation of Ali for evading the draft and the government’s monitoring of the Nation of Islam, which is described by the agency as an ‘all-Negro, quasi-religious organization which espouses a line of violent hatred of the white race, Government, law and law enforcement.’”
According to FBI records, Muhammad Ali referred to Caucasians as “white devils” and “crackers” and told mosque worshipers that “black women have the best sons and daughters in the world.” Known as Cassius Clay before converting to the Nation of Islam, Ali said blacks want separation not integration because “programs of [racial] integration are useless” and the 1964 Civil Rights Act was a “swindle.”
Consistent with the teachings of the Nation of Islam, Ali said in a mosque delivery that “the so-called Negro is the original man and is superior to the white devil” and that he’d rather be with his own people than “blue-eyed devil white people.” Ali told a Washington D.C. mosque crowd that he preferred “dying outright” or going to jail than going into the Army; and to a Cleveland mosque that the American flag “represented death and destruction” but the “Muslim flag” represents “life and prosperity, justice for all black men.”
In the 1960s, the FBI closely monitored Ali as a “security matter” due to his associations with Nation of Islam leaders Elijah Mohammad and Malcom X. The Nation of Islam followed Mohammad’s bizarre interpretation of the Koran that white people are “white devils” to be destroyed in a coming “War of Armageddon.” In April 1964, Ali’s plans to travel to Muslim countries alarmed the FBI and the agency searched his passport files and recorded that while in Accra, Ghana, Ali said he planned to bring four wives back to the US. According to one of Ali’s ex-wives, Sonji Roi, the Nation of Islam received 80% of the boxer’s earnings while he only got 20%. The FBI records also state that Ali was arrested for assault and battery in July 1960 at his parents’ home in Louisville, Kentucky and that his mother had witnessed the crime.
Judicial Watch had to sue the government to get the decades-old FBI records on Muhammad Ali, noting the irony that Ali’s family is using his name and legacy to launch a national anti-discrimination campaign, “Step into the Ring,” to end racial and religious profiling. Ali’s second wife, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, and son, Muhammad Ali Jr, said their inspiration for the campaign came from their being detained, questioned, harassed, and subjected to “racial and religious profiling” by federal immigration officers at a south Florida airport, when they were returning from a Jamaican Black History month event.
When he died, Muhammad Ali’s net worth was estimated to be $80 million.
When successful blacks, with multi-million dollars in net worth of which ordinary Americans can only dream, still insist America is racist and white people are devils, what hope is there for racial relations?
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