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Reader comment on item: Muhammad Ali's "Beautiful Soul"

Submitted by Clay Landon (United States), Dec 26, 2005 at 01:19

Daniel,

Where is the evidence--yours, that is--that Ali had his "handlers" contact the Pearl family? Who are Ali's handlers, anyway? I ask because from your statements, it sounds like you would know.

It's a too time consuming to address all of your specious if not entirely spacey opinions on Ali but I promise, I won't make "hostile, libelous, or otherwise objectionable statements"....

1) Ali's "betrayal" of Malcolm X was no such thing. He made a choice to follow Elijah Muhammad. Your statement that his choice led indirectly to Malcolm's assassination is like saying my voting against George W. Bush indirectly leads to the death of American soldiers in Iraq. Actually, I don't want to give you any ideas here so let's move along....

2) Ali has said several times that he regretted the way he treated Joe Frazier leading up to the Manilla fight. Want to know when he did it the first time? Right after the fight. He cleared the locker room of reporters and handlers except for his trainer and medical staff because he wanted to speak with Frazier's son, Marvis. Ali told Marvis to tell his father he was sorry for what he said, further stating that Frazier was a great fighter and a great man. Marvis went back to his father's locker room, relayed the apology and Joe Frazier said, "He didn't say it to my face." Ali has since expressed his contrition several times, going so far as to say "Frazier was the roughest and toughest" fighter he ever faced, adding, "I'm sorry Joe's still mad at me for the things I said but if God ever calls me to a holy war, I want Joe Frazier on my side."

3. One of the "abandoned" children of Ali you speak of was his daughter, Miryam. She said that even though he was rarely home because of his career, he was a wonderful father when present and is a deeply caring father now. She told me this herself but if you have a better source, let me know. Perhaps you've spoken to some of his handlers?

4. Ali beat Floyd Patterson in their only fight and afterward called him the most skilled boxer he ever fought, an opinion he happily shared years afterward. At the Terrel pre-fight weigh-in, Terrel said to Ali, "get out of the way, Clay", perhaps knowing all too well that it would incite Ali. You're right to point out that Ali's performance in the Terrel fight--purposefully backing off an obviously beaten fighter so as to inflict more punishment--was wrong and he paid the price publicly. I suppose it would be superfluous to point out that Terrel and Ali have been in touch a few times since then and have treated each other amicably?

5. Sonji Ali was publicly humiliated? Belinda, too? ... These are two very strong women. I would argue that Belinda had far more reason to feel humiliated than Sonji but Belinda's response was not that of a humiliated woman. She went right after Ali, flying sixteen hours from America to the Phillipines to let him know in no uncertain terms how she felt. This was a rightfully angry woman fully capable of taking care of herself. Ali was cheating on his wife. ...

6. "Ali remained an unabashed racist, calling for an American apartheid and the lynching of interracial couples as late as 1975." Evidence, please.

7. "In the years that mattered, Ali drove a wedge between the races. This may not have been evident to the cultural elite, but anyone who had been at Gary or like venues would know exactly what I mean." No, we really wouldn't. And I don't speak as one of the cultural elites, whoever the heck that may be. Not to be repetitive, but could you possibly be more specfic?

8. "He routinely denigrated black heroes who did not share his point of view, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, and Thurgood Marshall among them." As evidenced by... I mean, I know about Joe Louis who, while battling a cocaine addiction, decided to denounce then-Cassius Clay and help train Sonny Liston. Still, some evidence to back up your claim would help.

9. "Ali helped launch the career of Don King." Uh, no. Don King did more to help the career of Don King than any human being on the planet. Don King is many things: charismatic, verbose, entertaining and almost completely amoral but one thing he is definitely not is dependend on anyone for anything. It's the code he lives by.

10. "And, oh yes, he rejected his country in its hour of need and expressed no regret at the fate of those millions we all abandoned. The man who compelled him to do so had conspired with the Japanese and cheered them on at Pearl Harbor." An almost completely inscrutable sentence that does, I think, get to the crux of the problem you have with Ali. Yes, Muhammad Ali exercised his religious beliefs and did not serve in Vietnam. He was exercising a constitutional right that would be validated by a unanimous Supreme Court decision three years later. In the meantime, he had his livelihood taken away. I fail to see why you have such a problem with this unless you believe that every able-bodied man should've been fighting in Vietnam. It makes it a mite curious why some on right are all too willing in this day and age to excoriate those who actually served (Murtha and Kerry, to name just two) and curiouser still why they aren't themselves serving in Iraq right now (by the way, are able?) but who says the right needs to be consistent in their opinions, much less make sense?

Muhammad Ali is a remarkable human being and if I could, I would put emphasis on the word "human." In other words, he is not and has not been perfect. For every negative thing you can find about Ali--even those you've given not-too-great an effort to construct--there are dozens if not hundreds of deeds performed by him that are extraordinary in their charity and love. Your flippant disregard for his obviously sincere effort to help Judea Pearl is indicative of the tone of both of your recent articles on Ali--careless, malevelont, factually-challenged and seemingly proud of it.
Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

This reader seems not to have noted that, with the exception of the first question, they all deal with statements I only quoted, but did not write. He and others interested in more information should read the Cashill book from which this summary comes.

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Reader comments (107) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Ali Two Face [207 words]JerryJul 23, 2016 00:56230770
Clay [10 words]AlbertE.Jun 26, 2016 23:11230176
Different later in life [107 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Karim BajestaniJun 11, 2016 17:58229949
1He was a traitor [84 words]dhimmi no moreJun 11, 2016 07:46229938
His first and greatest sin. [17 words]Malcolm SmithJun 11, 2016 06:38229936
Why criticize Ali, who hasn't killed anyone? Better to condemn murderers like Mahmoud Abbas [450 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Michael SJun 10, 2016 03:26229918
The boxer did us a service [194 words]MIchael SJun 16, 2016 03:41229918
1The greatest man on earth lacked good judgment [40 words]PrashantJun 9, 2016 01:47229896
2A despicable person really [40 words]AussieJun 5, 2016 23:57229840
G.O.A.T [68 words]Yinka OyesanyaDec 4, 2012 13:30201166
Associations [141 words]Tony HobsonJul 21, 2011 11:02187602
2Response [893 words]ToniJun 11, 2010 10:35174231
1response [843 words]ToniJun 4, 2010 15:38173848
1I still dont get islam [210 words]J. NolanNov 3, 2009 10:09163997
Where do you get your information from [101 words]WHAT!Sep 3, 2009 15:51161038
1Bias much? [9 words]AnonymousMay 8, 2009 13:35155111
1Ali, a flawed human being [888 words]nicolasJan 11, 2009 23:32147805
ali is one of the greatest americans [312 words]thomas murphySep 22, 2008 23:22139042
Thank you [49 words]john coughlanFeb 25, 2008 21:17121066
who's racist [240 words]J. NolanNov 3, 2009 10:44121066
The people champ [140 words]Donald BrooksAug 23, 2007 09:49106836
The Greatest...The G Manifesto [9 words]The G ManifestoJul 22, 2007 01:35104283
3Why would any African American convert to islam ? [11 words]Phil GreendJun 9, 2007 14:3297141
7Why African-American's convert to Islam? The Answer [514 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Zaid ShakurJun 26, 2007 13:4297141
2Muslim slave Traders decimated East coast of Africa and its interior [443 words]David HarringtonSep 24, 2007 13:1697141
Read The History [562 words]Zaid ShakurSep 25, 2007 12:3997141
2Zaid Shakur - I think you protest too much [147 words]Grant GleesonOct 13, 2008 01:5897141
1why american blacks convert to islam [234 words]mark saichekJun 8, 2010 12:2797141
1Is Islam another form of colonialism? [157 words]jasminaOct 20, 2010 21:0697141
1Ali becoming Muslim [103 words]alJun 11, 2016 18:0997141
Reader Zaid glorifies the slave Zaid [74 words]PrashantJun 11, 2016 18:4397141
Is Islam another form of colonialism? Of course, it is. [356 words]PrashantJun 11, 2016 19:1497141
Trying to be a messenger of peace [41 words]FrankNov 13, 2006 22:1866045
1I Met "The Champ" in 1978 [136 words]MoonShadowJan 1, 2007 15:4866045
Ali was human [485 words]Lance M. HaleyAug 9, 2006 01:2952157
2And this guy was famous for...what? [123 words]Kevin MJul 16, 2006 14:2049824
Ali was a good Boxer [94 words]JuliuszFeb 26, 2006 13:5238083
2ken norten and jimmy young [77 words]mike mcnamaraOct 18, 2007 17:5938083
Muhammad Ali was the Greeeaaaatttest!!!!! [118 words]Ahmad R. JenkinsFeb 5, 2006 11:1933829
Response to Dr. Pipes comment [202 words]Clay LandonJan 7, 2006 16:3931237
Due diligence? [70 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
A friendDec 30, 2005 10:0330778
A few comments on your article, just a few... [1042 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Clay LandonDec 26, 2005 01:1930564
Ali was right [111 words]A. BurroughsNov 29, 2006 23:0130564
Marginally Black? [50 words]LiberalAvenger.comDec 20, 2005 18:5230306
a weak jab at ali [535 words]John AllenDec 20, 2005 02:0430227
1pearl's naiveté [35 words]brooklynbobDec 11, 2005 16:0029776
No he was not [58 words]MhamedSep 22, 2009 22:1329776
The Traitor [221 words]Patrick T. AltmanDec 10, 2005 20:0929755
Ali [321 words]SypherJul 14, 2006 18:2129755
Points of view [70 words]Muhammad ahmedJul 15, 2006 17:1829755
He was sentenced to death [77 words]MhamedSep 22, 2009 22:4729755
He was a great boxer, but not a good person at all [99 words]Johnny CarpatiDec 10, 2005 18:5329753
boxer [18 words]lee foleySep 15, 2007 11:5929753
Only Human. [85 words]Yinka OyesanyaDec 5, 2012 13:0429753
Re: Appeasing Moslems [75 words]KarlaDec 9, 2005 14:4229707
The Iraq war involves errors in tactics, not errors of principle [69 words]shane lindstromDec 6, 2005 10:5429514
in defense of Ali [634 words]a Filipino liberalDec 5, 2005 04:0929420
Mr. Pipes, Right on ALL Counts [129 words]Heather ClarkDec 5, 2005 03:1229418
Perfect example of why the president is a disgrace, he has people like this supporting him. [15 words]AnonymousDec 13, 2006 09:2429418
Question for Daniel Pipes [98 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Theodore ShulmanDec 4, 2005 17:5429405
Park [20 words]Lu An LiMar 6, 2015 22:5829405
Cook [45 words]AlbertE.Jun 26, 2016 23:2329405
Appeasing Moslems [356 words]F. ShakkiDec 4, 2005 10:5629396
A response to your Response [145 words]AnumApr 14, 2007 03:0629396
America the sports-mad [42 words]Peter HerzDec 3, 2005 21:3529366
Parkinsonianism does not prevent Ali from making his own decisions [30 words]Theodore ShulmanDec 2, 2005 21:3629336
Cassius "ali" Clay [270 words]YovenDec 2, 2005 16:5829328
Christianity [111 words]A.BurroughsNov 29, 2006 23:1929328
Most seem to miss your point [63 words]Darwin BarrettDec 2, 2005 11:5329316
Cassius Marcelus Clay [92 words]Abraham StubenhausDec 2, 2005 09:1829312
dirty boxer [91 words]JohnNov 30, 2006 15:1329312
The Champ failed flat_thumbs down [90 words]Donald L. FergusonDec 2, 2005 06:3429310
Muhammad Ali's "Beautiful Soul" [86 words]Behrouz AzarniaDec 2, 2005 05:3629308
You are an amateur [53 words]MhamedSep 22, 2009 22:5729308
you are an amateur? [73 words]mark saichekJun 17, 2010 00:0529308
Article 623: Muhammad Ali's Assistance Toward Release of Danny Pearl [383 words]Ed GordonDec 2, 2005 05:3129307
This is unfair [146 words]kDec 2, 2005 03:5429304
1Judea Pearl's misguided 'faith' in liberalism and Islamists [727 words]Ben van de PolderDec 2, 2005 01:0529300
Which is more ironic? [76 words]stanley bMar 17, 2012 16:3429300
A shame the Islamists did not share his views [83 words]stanislausMar 27, 2012 23:5029300
and the fixing match (Combine)? [17 words]francesco mangasciaDec 2, 2005 01:0329299
Ali: A nobody's Brotherhood [46 words]Mark-Alan WhittleDec 1, 2005 21:2529291
re Pearl harbor comment? [110 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
YehudaDec 1, 2005 19:5029288
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John-Paul PaganoDec 1, 2005 18:2329281
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question about Ali summary [27 words]
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RobertDec 1, 2005 17:0329270
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Re: Muhammad Ali [192 words]Lawrence M. DubinDec 1, 2005 15:1129263
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Beautiful Soul [66 words]robert finkDec 1, 2005 13:5029251
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Muhammad Ali's Beautiful Soul [227 words]Kim SegarDec 1, 2005 13:3229245
Ali [139 words]Donald W. BalesDec 1, 2005 13:1329243
A response to your Response [107 words]AnumApr 14, 2007 02:5429243
About Floyd Patterson & Ernie Terrel [66 words]ScottDec 1, 2005 12:5529241
The faded butterfly [163 words]Mary Kay SmedstadDec 1, 2005 11:4629237
A responce to your response [285 words]AnumApr 14, 2007 02:3529237
Pipes's courage [177 words]Larry DerfnerDec 1, 2005 11:2929236
Thank you [37 words]JaneDec 1, 2005 11:2329235
GWB Honors Ali [45 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Brian KheelDec 1, 2005 10:5929233
your axe to grind [35 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
MattDec 1, 2005 10:2829230
Ali helps and you.... [163 words]Asim AhmedDec 1, 2005 08:4829225

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Mark my comment as a response to A few comments on your article, just a few... by Clay Landon

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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