Just over a month after the son of legendary heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali was detained by security officials at a Florida airport who asked him if he was Muslim, he was questioned again at the Washington D.C. airport, his lawyer said.
Officials quizzed Muhammad Ali Jr., for about 20 minutes, lawyer Chris Mancini told the New York Daily News. He said that officers were skeptical about his identification, and that Ali, 44, was finally allowed to leave when he produced his U.S. passport.
The TSA said in a statement that agents were concerned about a “large piece of jewelry” he was wearing. Ali was given a “targeted” pat down and “cleared” to travel. The Department of Homeland Security insisted to the News that he was only held up for about 11 minutes.
The incident occurred the day after Ali spoke out in Washington against Donald Trump’s travel ban at a congressional forum on immigration organized by House Democrats. He said that because of Trump’s travel policy, he was profiled for both his race and religion when he was detained for more than an hour and a half on Feb. 7 at the Fort Lauderdale airport as he and his mother were returning from Jamaica.
That time, he said he gave agents his name, then was asked: “What is you religion?” He responded: “Why would you even ask me what my religion is?” He was then taken to a back room.
Mancini indicated that Ali was targeted Friday because he had criticized Trump’s policies.
“Going to Washington obviously opened up a can of worms at DHS,” said Mancini, who added that “quite obviously” Ali has “now been put on a different” travel status and will likely be stopped frequently now.
Ali had traveled to Washington to speak at the forum from his Florida home on Wednesday with his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali. They experienced no problems flying to the forum. Both Ali and his mother are American citizens who were born in the country. Neither has any criminal record.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) happened to be on the same plane to Florida as Ali on Friday. She posed with him in the plane for a Twitter photo, adding: “On way home on DOMESTIC flight. Religiously profiling the son of ‘The Greatest’ will not make us safe.”
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