Muhammad Ali Denounces Donald Trump's Plan To Shut Out Muslims

His response came two days after Trump questioned whether Muslim sports heroes exist.

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali criticized business mogul Donald Trump for proposing to block Muslims from immigrating to the United States, calling on leaders to instead "bring understanding about the religion of Islam."

"I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world," Ali wrote in a statement provided to NBC News on Wednesday. "True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion."

Ali continued: "Speaking as someone who has never been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people's views on what Islam really is."

Ali's response came two days after the GOP presidential candidate questioned whether Muslim athletes actually exist.

There are, of course, many Muslim sports stars, including Ali and NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Trump has been photographed with both Ali and Abdul-Jabbar, and he even received the Muhammad Ali Award in 2007.

Abdul-Jabbar also criticized Trump in a Wednesday column in Time.

"If violence can be an abstraction -- and it can; that's what a threat is -- the Trump campaign meets this definition. Thus, Trump is ISIS's greatest triumph: the perfect Manchurian Candidate who, instead of offering specific and realistic policies, preys on the fears of the public, doing ISIS's job for them," he wrote.

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