CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - As several members of the Cleveland Muslim community gather at historic Masjid Bilal for a pre-Ramadan program and celebration of their 33rd Anniversary, special prayers for the late, great Muhammad Ali have now been included.
Ali died on Friday, June 3, 2016.
They will also pause to remember his life as a champion of Black liberation and empowerment, as well as a Muslim freedom fighter and ambassador for human rights and world peace.
"His oratorical gifts, matched by his athletic prowess and his commitment to justice catapulted him into one of the most influential personalities in the world. Unlike many of today's athletes, he put it all on the table because of his convictions. He truly believed in reaching back to bring others forward, as evidenced by his establishment of the Muhammad Ali Foundation. He was a voice for the voiceless and a hero for the masses."
Prayers will begin at 1:30 and be followed by a 2 p.m.workshop at the mosque by Cleveland International Hall of Fame member and well known community activist Amir El-Hajj Khalid A. Samad on "Muslims in Politics" with a special tribute to Muhammad Ali
Ali's ties to Cleveland were not only as a Muslim and a boxer, but also as a business entrepreneur, activist and leader in the fight against injustice, oppression and racism.
He was part of a unique effort to promote Black businesses under the Black Economic Union (founded in Cleveland), with former Cleveland Brown Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and others.
Muhammad Ali visited Masjid Bilal on a visit to Cleveland.
"He was a shining example of what one person who is not afraid to stand up for what is right can accomplish. He made the path way wider for those who follow after. He has been a role model, leader, freedom fighter, and example to millions of people. He will be greatly missed and his will be huge shoes to fill. We at the International Council are particularly grateful for his leadership, his inspiration and his example as we have worked to bring peace to the streets. ?The International Council sends its love and prayers to his family and friends."
The International Council for Urban Peace, Justice and Empowerment is a collaboration of over 35 organizations that have brokered peace treaties and cease fires and have held peace summits for over 20 years.
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