Muhammad Ali Jr. Detained AGAIN At Airport Right After Testifying About First Detention

One day after he testified about being stopped by immigration officials under Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, the son of boxing legend Muhammad Ali was detained by immigration officials again — this time on a domestic flight.

Muhammad Ali Jr. traveled to Washington on Wednesday to testify about the first time he was detained on his way back from a Black History Month speech he gave with his mother in Jamaica. Ali Jr. was initially detained at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on February 7 and questioned for two hours, with officials grilling him with ever-important questions like “Are you a Muslim” and “where did you get your name.” This time, the boxer’s son didn’t even make it to Florida.

While attempting to board a flight home in a Washington-area airport, the TSA immediately took issue with his identification:

When Mr. Ali, whose father died last year, arrived at Reagan National Airport in Washington on Friday for a flight to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., he gave his Illinois identification card to a JetBlue agent to get his boarding pass, said his lawyer, Chris Mancini, who was traveling with him and witnessed the episode. Almost immediately, Mr. Ali was told that there was a problem and that the agent needed to call the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Mancini said.

Mr. Ali, 44, was asked his date of birth, where he was born and his Social Security number, Mr. Mancini said. After answering the questions, he was told that his Illinois-issued identification card, which expires in 2019 but is not a driver’s license, was invalid for flying.

“The same state ID from Illinois that he traveled to Washington on was rejected,” Mr. Mancini said in an interview on Friday night. Mr. Ali then produced his United States passport, which was accepted, and went through security and boarded the flight with his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the second wife of Muhammad Ali, and Mr. Mancini.

Mr. Mancini said that the episode lasted between 20 and 25 minutes. “This whole thing smacks of some sort of retaliation for his testimony,” he said.

The TSA, as is typical, absolved itself of all wrongdoing .“Upon arriving at the airline check-in counter, a call was made to confirm Mr. Ali’s identity with T.S.A. officials,” the agency says. “When Mr. Ali arrived at the checkpoint, his large jewelry alarmed the checkpoint scanner. He received a targeted pat-down in the area of his jewelry to clear the alarm and was cleared to catch his flight.”

This is now the second time over the course of two separate Muslim bans in which a well-known figure was singled out seemingly for no better reason than his name. This does not keep America safe — it makes everyday Americans afraid to travel if their skin is too dark or if they might appear too “Muslimy” to the unwashed bigots who regularly staff TSA checkpoints across the nation.

If this is what America looks like when it’s “Great Again,” then maybe we should stop. Let’s not be so great. Our country can’t handle it.


Featured image via Getty Images (Mandel Ngan)