Muslim Sports Legends Have a Message for Donald Trump

December 10th 2015

Taylor Bell

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump declared a plan to ban all Muslims entering the U.S. on Monday. The day before that, he criticized President Barack Obama for saying there were Muslim sports heroes in America.

By Wednesday, two of the nation's legendary Muslim sports figures, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Muhammad Ali responded to Trump, and it wasn't pretty.

Related: Donald Trump Just Took Islamophobia to a Near Unimaginable Level

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's response to Trump in TIME

In a TIME op-ed, champion NBA basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar condemned the Republican front-runner's Islamophobic campaign and went as far as to liken him to ISIS.

"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.

Related: Donald Trump Just Embarrassed Himself With Another Bigoted Statement on Muslims

According to Abdul-Jabbar "Trump is ISIS's greatest triumph" because of his fear-mongering ways. By Trump successfully cashing in on the public's fear again and again, he is essentially doing ISIS' work for them Abdul-Jabbar said.

"While Trump is not slaughtering innocent people, he is exploiting such acts of violence to create terror here to coerce support," Abdul-Jabbar said. "Trump’s irresponsible, inflammatory rhetoric and deliberate propagation of misinformation have created a frightened and hostile atmosphere that could embolden people to violence."

And as far as what Abdul-Jabbar thinks of Trump's idea of keeping tabs on Muslims through a database and preventing them from entering the country, Jabbar compared Trump to the ultimate villain.

"Trump’s claims that he might support registering Muslims as well as call for a ban of Muslims from entering the United States--even U.S. citizens abroad--have elevated him to the level of a James Bond super-villain," Jabbar said. "And like those villains, he is doomed to failure."

Muhammad Ali's Response to Trump's Muslim Ban

While Abdul-Jabbar harshly pointed out the problem with Trump and his campaign, Ali reinforced the separation of Islam from the violent acts of terrorism.

"I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world," an official statement for Ali said. "True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so-called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion."

As Islamophobia continues to spread, especially through the actions of politicians like Donald Trump, Ali called upon the responsibility of other Muslims and state leaders to speak up and educate people misguided information

"We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own people agenda." Ali said. "I believe our political leaders should use their position bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people's views on what Islam really is."

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