Donald Trump might deny that his Muslim ban (in between saying it’s a Muslim ban) is actually a ban on Muslims — after all, that would make it unconstitutional, but one high profile American Muslim was detained at an airport in Florida. That pretty much leaves Trump with zero deniability. It’s a Muslim ban.
On Feb. 7th, Muhammad Ali Jr. (44), the son of nearly universally loved boxer Muhammad Ali was traveling with his mother and Ali Senior’s second wife, Khalilah Camacho-Ali. They were at a Black History Month event in Montego Bay, Jamaica. That’s not one of the countries on Trump’s banned list. When the travelers entered Ft. Lauderdale-Holywood International, they were stopped because of their names, according to lawyer and family friend Chris Mancini. Camacho-Ali was able to get by because of her husband. No such luck for their son, though.
Immigration officials let Camacho-Ali go after she showed them a photo of herself with her ex-husband, but her son did not have such a photo and wasn’t as lucky. 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.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection was asked about it and a spokesman shrugged it off saying that it could have been anyone:
“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.”
Ali doesn’t buy it. He blames Trump.
“To the Ali family, it’s crystal clear that this is directly linked to Mr. Trump’s efforts to ban Muslims from the United States,” Mancini said.
“Imagine walking into an airport and being asked about your religion,” he said. “This is classic customs profiling.”
This is one of the very reasons that court after court have said no to Trump’s Muslim ban, partly because Trump himself said it was a Muslim ban, which is a clear violation of the Constitution.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2015
Everybody is arguing whether or not it is a BAN. Call it what you want, it is about keeping bad people (with bad intentions) out of country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 1, 2017
Trump is expected to release a brand new same as the old ban Muslim ban next week, and with a name as high profile as Ali’s, who’s as American as it gets, people will start to take notice. Right now, Americans are split:
In the Reuters/Ipsos poll some 31 percent of people said the ban made them feel “more safe,” while 26 percent said it made them feel “less safe.” Another 33 percent said it would not make any difference and the rest said they don’t know.
Most importantly, though, is that every judge in the country, including those on the Supreme Court, will know exactly how broad and how much of a religious test this ban is.
Featured image via Mario Tama/Getty Images.