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some facts on Mohammed Ali, a/k/a Cassius Clay

Reader comment on item: King of Pop Michael Jackson and Black Converts to Islam
in response to reader comment: Rumble in the Jungle

Submitted by festine (United States), Mar 8, 2006 at 14:44

Some commenters have mentioned Mohammed Ali, and the timing of his conversion to Islam.

I remember the facts very clearly.

Cassius Clay fought Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship under his given name.

After he defeated Liston, he announced to the world his association with the NOI and his new moniker- Mohammed Ali.

He then fought several championship bouts under his new name, easily dispatching all of his opponents. The induction notice came later (a couple of years) after he first became champion and came out as a Muslim.

What makes the Mohammed Ali story atypical to Dr. Pipes' accounts of blacks turning to Islam, is the fact that Cassius Clay was not in trouble, dissaffected, etc. at the time of his public conversion. Quite the contrary, he was at the top of his game and actually did himself economic harm both by his conversion and subsequent draft resistance.

I am neither a great fan, nor a detractor of Mohammed Ali. But the facts are the facts, and they don't seem to fit Dr. Pipes' stated pattern.
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