By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
In case you missed it, earlier this week, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump made some inflammatory remarks saying he would ban all Muslims from entering the US. His comments came in response to President Obama’s Sunday night address that asked the nation to avoid discriminating against the Muslim community because of the terrorist attacks being carried out around the globe.
In response to Trump’s comments two of our most recognizable Muslim sports heroes have fired back. NBA all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and boxing legend Muhammad Ali each have spoken out this week, condemning Trump’s comments. Ali released a statement yesterday that read:
“I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.
We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.
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.”
Meanwhile, Jabbar, in his weekly column for TIME, went even further, essentially calling Trump a terrorist.
“The terrorist campaign against American ideals is winning. Fear is rampant. Gun sales are soaring. Hate crimes are increasing. Bearded hipsters are being mistaken for Muslims. And 83 percent of voters believe a large-scale terrorist attack is likely here in the near future. Some Americans are now so afraid that they are willing to trade in the sacred beliefs that define America for some vague promises of security from the very people who are spreading the terror. “Go ahead and burn the Constitution — just don’t hurt me at the mall.” That’s how effective this terrorism is.
I’m not talking about ISIS. I’m talking about Donald Trump.
This is not hyperbole. Not a metaphor. Webster defines terrorism as “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal; the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.”
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. Even fellow Republican Jeb Bush acknowledged Trump’s goal is “to manipulate people’s angst and fears.”
Strong words from two sports legends who are practicing and devout Muslims. Based on this Trump tweet from Sunday night, he may be unaware of these two sports luminaries.
Trump has continued to defend his remarks in the days since, comparing his plan to what President Roosevelt did during WWII.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.