Skip to content

Muhammad Ali’s son illegally detained at US airport due to his Islamic name

Muhammad Ali

Photo credit: Tinseltown /

The son of the greatest athlete of all-time was racially profiled because of his Islamic name. Muhammad Ali’s son, Muhammad Ali Jr., 44, was illegally detained at a U.S. airport.

According to Miami New Times, the incident occurred on February 7 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Ali Jr. took a trip with his mother, Khalilah Ali, to Montego Bay, Jamaica, where they had a Black history speaking engagement. However, when they returned to Florida, they were racially profiled due to their Islamic names.

Authorities initially stopped Khalilah, but she was able to prove that she was once married to Muhammad Ali. She presented a photo of herself with Muhammad Ali and authorities allowed her to leave. Ali Jr. did not have a photo of himself with his father and was immediately detained. The son of the late-great Ali has never been arrested and carried a legal U.S. passport. Although he had the documents to prove his citizenship, Ali Jr. was still detained for two hours.

The illegal action by immigration authorities was a direct result of President Donald Trump’s travel ban against Muslims. Trump’s racism and bigotry affected a multitude of people who were U.S. citizens and those who had previously been able to enter the country on a Green Card or Visa. On Feb. 9, the U.S. 9th Circuit of Appeals rejected Trump’s travel ban which was viewed as a Muslim ban on seven nations that are predominately Islamic.

Three judges ruled against the ban by stating, “We hold that the Government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury.” Trump initiated the ban on January 27 by signing an executive order. However, the order was signed and issued without proper vetting.

While Trump’s Muslim ban has currently been lifted, his actions have helped increase the racism and hatred that continues to be an issue in America.