Photo: Brecht Bug
Photo: Brecht Bug

Muhammad Ali’s son detained at Florida airport

Muhammad Ali Jr., the son of the legendary boxer and a resident of Deerfield Beach, Florida, was detained for hours at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport earlier this month after returning from Jamaica, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.

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 Ali Jr., 44, and his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, were singled out and pulled aside by customs officials on Feb. 7 due to their Arabic-sounding names, a family friend told the Courier-Journal. According to lawyer Chris Mancini, officials grilled Ali Jr. for nearly two hours with questions such as "Where did you get your name from?" and "Are you Muslim?"

Camacho-Ali, the second wife of Muhammad Ali, was let go after she showed a photo of herself with the former heavyweight champion, the Courier-Journal reported. Ali Jr., who was born in Philadelphia in 1972 and holds a U.S. passport, told the customs officials that he is a Muslim, spurring further questions.

Ali Jr. and his mother, known as Belinda Boyd when she married Ali Sr. in 1967 and then changed her name when she converted to Islam, were returning from a Black History Month event in Montego Bay, Jamaica. In response to an email from the Courier-Journal, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman 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." 

Mancini said that neither Camacho-Ali nor Ali Jr., who have both traveled the world extensively, has faced detainment before. He blamed the incident on President Donald Trump's Jan. 27 executive order that banned citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries. A federal judge in Washington State blocked the government from carrying out the order earlier this month.

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