Varun Soni, huffingtonpost.com
Ali image fromExcerpt:
Muhammad Ali’s journey from sportsman to statesman, from fighter to peacemaker, was more than just symbolic. Indeed, his post-fighting career is replete with examples of his courageous public diplomacy initiatives. He negotiated the release of 15 American hostages from Iraq during the first Gulf War; he spearheaded reconciliation programs in South Africa and Vietnam; he delivered medical aid and supplies to Cuba; and he traveled to North Korea and Afghanistan as a goodwill ambassador. Additionally, as a philanthropist, he raised millions of dollars for Parkinson’s research, distributed meals to homeless families in the United States, and participated in the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Special Olympics.
Muhammad Ali’s dedication to global peace, public diplomacy, and philanthropy exemplified his foundational belief in Islam as a religion of peace. ...
Ultimately, Muhammad Ali’s root identity as an American Muslim empowered him to claim a mantle of moral authority and do the prophetic work of peace and justice. In doing so, he embodied the hopes, dreams, aspirations, and promise of the Muslim American community. Reflecting upon his unique faith journey, Ali said, “I set out on a journey of love, seeking truth, peace, and understanding.” His remarkable journey endures as a quintessentially American journey of reconciliation and redemption.