Muhammad Ali Jr. detained by immigration at Florida airport because of ‘Arabic sounding’ name and asked ‘Are you Muslim’

Son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was detained for hours by immigration officials earlier this month at a Florida airport.

Muhammad Ali Jr., 44, and his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the first wife of Muhammad Ali, were arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Feb. 7 after returning from speaking at a Black History Month event in Montego Bay, Jamaica. They were pulled aside while going through customs because of their Arabic-sounding names, according to family friend and lawyer Chris Mancini.

Immigration officials let Camacho-Ali go after she showed them a photo of herself with her ex-husband, but her son did not have a photo like that. Mancini said officials held and questioned Ali Jr. for nearly two hours, repeatedly asking him, “Where did you get your name from?” and “Are you Muslim?”

When Ali Jr. responded that yes, he is a Muslim, the officers kept questioning him about his religion and where he was born. Ali Jr. was born in Philadelphia in 1972 and holds a U.S. passport.

Reached for comment via email Friday, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection wrote, “Due to the restrictions of the Privacy Act, U.S. Customs and Border Protection cannot discuss individual travelers; however, all international travelers arriving in the U.S. are subject to CBP inspection.”

The line of questioning is indicative of profiling and designed to produce answers that corroborate what officials want to hear, Mancini said. Neither Camacho-Ali nor Ali Jr. have ever been subjected to detainment before, despite extensive global travel experience, he said.

Camacho-Ali and Ali Jr. live in Deerfield Beach, Fla., a 20-minute drive from the airport. While Ali Jr. was detained, Camacho-Ali ran around the airport asking, “Where’s my son?” and begging for help, according to Mancini. Because incidents involving customs officials are considered to be on federal soil, local police had no jurisdiction to help her. Ali Jr. was eventually released two hours later, and the family contacted Mancini the following day.

Mancini said he and the Ali family are contemplating filing a federal lawsuit and are currently trying to find out how many other people have been subjected to the same treatment as Ali Jr.

“Imagine walking into an airport and being asked about your religion,” he said. “This is classic customs profiling.”

14 thoughts on “Muhammad Ali Jr. detained by immigration at Florida airport because of ‘Arabic sounding’ name and asked ‘Are you Muslim’

  1. Joakim Abdullah Lindroos Reply

    This is ridicolous, and it is definitely stamped Mr Trump, but in the end he we will lose out because it will only look like a communistic, fascistic way of ruling and he Mr Trump will in the end lose.

  2. MazlanHassim Reply

    I had a similar experience.
    My name is Mohd Mazlan Bin Mohamed Hassim.
    I am not a terrorist.

  3. Abubakar Reply

    The more you talk bad about Islam, the more it growth off…. my name : Abubakar Sanusi. Am not in sport of violence… Islam is peace .

  4. Machiso Reply

    Anti muslim?
    You robbed muslim lands of their oil and now u ban muslim from entering the States..Your peace talks are all lies😢

  5. Arshi malek Reply

    History has proven again and again that the more u try to suppress Islam more it will prosper bcoz by hating Islam u try to know abt it and finally the truth dawns upon u that Islam is the most compassionate and encompassing religion

  6. yahya Reply

    Well no matter what they do or say against islam is a bloody lie,damn!!!.
    Islam is the religion of all the prophets ABRAHAM,MUSES,YUNA,JECOB,ELIJAH,JESUS and MUHAMMAD S.A.W. peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all inshaa Allah.
    And you got nothing to do about whether you like it or not Islam has been there before your great grand parents and will forever live.
    So you can go to hell if what you think isn’t right.

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