Donald Trump's Plan for Muhammad Ali's Funeral Is a Slap in the Face

June 8th 2016

Aimee Kuvadia

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is interested in attending boxing champion Muhammad Ali's funeral, according to a volunteer who is organizing the event.

Trump has been known to spout off inflammatory remarks about Muslims — including questioning if there were Muslim sports heroes — and Ali was a Muslim. So, needless to say, his tentative plans to attend the boxer's funeral are being met with outrage on social media and by Ali's supporters in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, reports Voice of America.

However, it seems that the organizers of the funeral are taking the higher ground, remembering that a tenet of their faith is inclusivity, according to Voice of America.

"None of us care for (Trump's) rhetoric, but this is what Ali would have wanted," Ali's friend Saliha Shakir told Voice of America. "He would not have turned him away."

Here's a taste of what Trump has said about Muslims.

Sweeping generalizations.

When speaking to CNN host Anderson Cooper in March, Trump said, "I think Islam hates us."

"Trump didn't say that radical Muslims hate the West, which is at least true —if only incompletely. Because radical Muslims hate most other Muslims, too," Islam expert Haroon Moghul wrote in an opinion piece on CNN. "They often don't even consider most Muslims to be Muslims. Trump didn't even say Muslims hate the West either."

Ban on Muslim immigrants.

Referring to himself in the third person, he said: "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on. We have no choice."

Trump said he was simply echoing the opinions of most Americans, but nearly 60 percent of Americans are opposed to a ban on Muslims from other countries entering the U.S., according to a CBS News poll.

Surveillance of mosques.

In the wake of the terrorist attack in Paris, at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama, Trump riled up his supporters by suggesting that law enforcement pay special attention to certain mosques, because, according to him, they could pose security threats.

"I want surveillance of certain mosques if that's OK," he said. "We've had it before."

Earlier that week, he'd said in an MSNBC interview that he would "strongly consider" shuttering all mosques in the U.S.

Criticism of Muslim sports heroes.

On the heels of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, President Barack Obama addressed the nation with a poignant speech in which he said, "Muslim-Americans are our friends and neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes, and yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country."

To this statement, Trump responded via Twitter:

Trump's ignorance was on full display with the above tweet. He obviously forgot about his supposed longtime bud Ali, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Hakeem Olajuwon, among others.

Trump and Ali were friends?

The boxing legend and business tycoon allegedly had a friendship that spanned over 30 years, according to Voice of America. Trump donated $350,000 to an Ali fundraiser for Parkinson's disease, and Ali attended Trump's wedding to his second wife in 2005.

After news broke last week that Ali had died from complications of Parkinson's, Trump said in a statement on Facebook that the athlete was "a truly great champion and a wonderful guy."

But before he died, Ali issued a statement, which very well might have been directed at Trump, following the San Bernardino tragedy in December:

"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."

Ali wanted his funeral to be open to all religions.

Ali's funeral will be held in Louisville and include a family-only service on Thursday, followed by a traditional Islamic prayer service open to the public. On Friday, there will be a larger public service in a stadium and a procession through city streets. The Ali family spokesman Bob Gunnell said that the boxer wanted the public services open to everyone, regardless of his or her religion. Trump "would be welcome to attend," according to Gunnel.

Also slated to attend Ali's funeral, according to Gunnel, are several notable figures: former President Bill Clinton, who will speak at the service, Billy Crystal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Jordan's King Abdullah II. Religious leaders from various faiths are also scheduled to speak at the services.