How Islam took root in one of South America’s most violent cities14 days ago
The Colombian port of Buenaventura is home to a small Muslim community who have successively embraced the Nation of Islam, Sunni and Shia interpretations
Blaring salsa music from a neighbouring bar does not perturb Sheik Munir Valencia as he bows in prayer at a family-home-turned-mosque in the poor, violence-racked Colombian city of Buenaventura.
His prayers finished, Valencia sheds his brown tunic, sits down at a plastic table and describes his role as the spiritual leader of an Islamic community like few others.
The small community of Afro-Colombian Muslims in Colombias main Pacific port city have over the years espoused the teachings of the Nation of Islam, mainstream Sunni Islam, and the Shia denomination.
First attracted to the faith by the promises of black power, Buenaventuras Muslims say that they have found in Islam a refuge from the poverty and violence that racks the city, which has one of the highest slaying rates in Colombia.
Islam first arrived here in the late 1960 s thanks to Esteban Mustafa Melndez, an African American sailor of Panamanian origin, who spread the training courses of the Nation of Islam the US-based group that mixes elements of Islam with black patriotism among port workers.
He talked about the self-esteem of blacks, and that philosophy had a big impact. Those teaches reached the heads and hearts of a lot of people, says Valencia, adding that the message came during a period of profound social change.
Melndezs visits came at a time when many rural Colombians were migrating to cities, losing in the process the social connections of their extended households, said Diego Castellanos, a sociologist who has examined different religions in Colombia, an overwhelmingly Catholic country.
The Nation of Islam offered an alternative identity and it was a way to fight back against the situation of structural racial discrimination in the port, he said. 90 per cent of the population of Buenaventura is Afro-Colombian.
That first wave of converts tended to be more political than spiritual: they said their prayers in English or Spanish, read more political pamphlets than the Quran, and had a shaky understanding of Islams central tenets, said Valencia.
The appeal of the Nation of Islam gradually waned as Melndezs trip-ups came less frequently and the message of black supremacy began to sound hollow to a community that while victim of severe structural discrimination based on their race never suffered the same racial hatred and segregation laws that had existed in the United States.
Following the example of Malcolm X who broke with the Nation of Islam and embraced Sunnism before his death in 1965 the states members of the Buenaventura community travelled to Saudi Arabia to study Islam and came back to convince the group to embrace a more orthodox religion.
Just like that we were Sunni, says Valencia, who was raised Catholic and planned to become a clergyman before turning to Islam. We learned to read Arabic, we read the Quran, we no longer looked toward the United States and started looking toward Saudi Arabia, he says.
Buenaventuras Muslim community turned to other Sunni groups in the country for support, but their two worlds could not have been more different.
The Muslims from Buenaventura, defined between vast expanses of jungle and the Pacific Ocean in Colombias south-west, were black, poor and relatively new to the beliefs and traditions of Islam. The established Colombian Sunni community was of Arab heritage, made up of prosperous traders and based predominantly in Maicao, a bustling commercial township set in the north-eastern desert on the border with Venezuela.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
The Boy With the Perpetual Nervousness review- a narrative of disloyalty by the church15 days ago
Graham Caveneys defiant, important memoir details how the Catholic establishment fails abuse victims
Pope Francis has taken great strides in challenging all sorts of entrenched attitudes and prejudices in the Vatican that have given the Catholic church such a bad name of late. Progression has been disappointingly slow, however, on the commission he appointed in 2014 to tackle the appalling scandal of clerical sexual abuse. In March of this year Marie Collins, the last remaining is part of the panel who was a survivor of abuse, resigned after a Vatican department failed to comply with the commissions recommendation that it respond to every correspondent who writes in with allegations that they have been a victim. If the curia is resisting such simple steps, how to have faith that they will tackle the bigger underlying issues?
Reluctance to face up to the consequences of clerical abuse remains hard-wired into the structures of the church: an instinct to protect the institution at the cost of the individual who has suffered, and a brick-wall resistance to addressing the profound questions about the nature of vocation posed by such abhorrent behaviour. And so church leaders not all, awarded; surely not Pope Francis tend to speak of historical allegations whenever victims find the gallantry to speak up 20, 30 or even 40 years after events that are not for them in any way historical, but are a psychological and emotional trauma they will live with until their succumbing day.
Individuals like Graham Caveney. The Boy With the Perpetual Nervousness recounts with great courage and candour how, in the 1970 s, as the clever, awkward, nerdy, merely child of devoutly Catholic working-class parents in Accrington, Lancashire, he was groomed by a priest at his local grammar school in Blackburn, and then sexually abused by him.
A casual glance might indicate he has managed to set it behind him he has a successful career as a novelist on music( the voices of the 70 s are one thread of this well-structured, rounded memoir) and biographer of William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. But as he describes, without self-pity, Caveney fell out of university, struggled to kind adult relationships, turned to beverage and drugs to blot out the trauma, and on occasion attempted suicide.
The abuse leads you to fuck up their own lives, he reflects bleakly but unsparingly, and a fucked-up life means that youre a less believable witness to the abuse that fucked you up in the first place. Its an ironic trick of memory and survival: abuse induces you want to forget the abuse.
John and Kath, his mum and father, had no idea what was wrong. They watched their beloved boy, in whom they had expended so much hope that he would have more life opportunities than them, change first into a sulky, angry adolescent who refused to go to mass, and then into a messed-up wreck, beset by panic attacks.
They died in 1998 and 2002, still none the wiser. They continued to direct their flailing son back towards his old headteacher for wise advise, never suspecting that Father Kevin ONeill had sexually abused him as a 15 -year-old and set off the downward spiral.
The Caveneys had believed that the youthful, relaxed Rev Kev the Catholic equivalent of a trendy vicar was doing their boy a favor by taking him to theaters, cinemas and restaurants, broadening his intellect. What they couldnt know was that on the way home, the priest they looked up to would turn his vehicle into quiet side-road and force himself on their son. Afterwards, where reference is invited young Graham to go on holiday to Greece with him and a group of others, John and Kath enlisted the help of relatives to scrape together the cost, but it was just a pretext for more abuse.
Its them that I cant forgive you for, Caveney writes, addressing his abuser in the pages of a book that must have cost him dear to complete, the route in which you stimulated their hopes and aspirations the tools of your own needs. Its them who expended their lives worrying if it was something they had done wrong to make their son turn out the way he did.
Given how much Catholic grammar schools from the 1950 s through to the 1970 s were the road by which generations of working-class Catholic boys and girls got to get in life the Irish Christian Friend in my own home township of Liverpool boasted that they took the sons of dockers and built them into physicians it is impossible to believe that the disloyalty of Graham Caveney and his mothers is an isolated incident. How widespread it is, however, remains impossible to know because every bit of information has to be dragged out of a compulsively secretive church that recoils from guessing in terms of deep-rooted, complex patterns of abuse.
And what happened when Caveney identified his abuser in the early 1990 s to Father ONeills religious order, the Marists? Id merely slashed up my limbs, he adds, by way of context. The clergyman was challenged, apparently confessed his crimes, but was referred to a US therapy centre rather than the police. In 1993, he retired with full honors as headteacher. Kath even sent her son a cutting about the celebrations from the local paper. You were always one of his favourites, she reminded him. The report told of ex-pupils lining up to sing the clergymen praises, little suspecting how they too had been betrayed.
ONeill died in 2011, the serious charges against him encompassed up to the grave. He still doesnt seem to appear on any register I can find of abusive clergy. What distresses Caveney almost as much as the churchs failure to involve the police and courts is that he now can never confront his abuser, save in this raw, defiant but important memoir. A part of him, he confesses, still thinks in his darkest moments that what happened was somehow his own fault.
What was it about me? he asks. You watch, theres a bit of me that still believes Im unique, that I genuinely was your prime number, indivisible merely by myself. I dont want to think of myself as part of a pattern, merely another victim.
ONeills old school, St Marys, Blackburn, today has a drama block named after him, an honour accorded despite the Marist order having been told about Caveneys accusations virtually 20 years earlier. Is it plausible that there is no one who knew of them who could have spoken up? Or did they consider that whatever good he had done at the school cancelled out sexually abusing a 15 -year-old in his care? It is part of the same impossible-to-fathom and offensive attitude that now apparently stops Vatican officials answering letters from those reporting abuse, in defiance of the pope.
Quite how long it will take for that prejudice to be defeated, I dont know. But after they have read The Boy With the Perpetual Nervousness , the school governors might at least like to revisit the naming of their drama block, which scratch salt into open wounds.
Peter Stanford is a former editor of the Catholic Herald
The Boy With the Perpetual Nervousness by Graham Caveney is published by Picador on 7 September( 14.99 ). To order a transcript for 12.74 go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p& p over 10, online orders only. Telephone orders min p& p of 1.99
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9 Reasons Why I Unapologetically Believe In The Power Of God20 days ago
India court bans Islamic instant divorce in huge win for women’s rights1 month, 4 days ago
Controversial practice of triple talaq, which permits humen to dissolve weddings instantly, declared unconstitutional
An Islamic practice permitting humen to instantly divorce their wives has been proclaimed unconstitutional by India’s supreme court after decades of campaigning by women’s groups and victims.
The” triple talaq” has allowed Muslim men to dissolve weddings by pronouncing the word “divorce” three times.
The supreme court in Delhi took up the issue last year in response to a petition from seven victims and women’s groups. A majority of the bench proclaimed on Wednesday that triple talaq was ” not integral to religious practice and violates constitutional morality “.
Campaigners hailed the supreme court’s 3-2 decision as a huge victory for India’s 90 million Muslim women.
” It’s a very happy day for us. It’s an historical day ,” said Zakia Soman, the co-founder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan( BMMA ), an activist group that was party to the legal battle.
” We, the Muslim women, are entitled to justice from the courts as well as the legislature .”
The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, also welcomed the verdict 😛 TAGEND
Tyson Fury: the boxer who picked a fight with the world | Barney Ronay1 month, 20 days ago
Over the Christmas weekend, United Airlines was accused by a passenger of stealing her first class seat and devoting it Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. Via Jean-Marie Simon, the passenger:
Sheila Jackson Lee( D-Texas) in seat 1A the one I paid for dearly, and the one United dedicated to her without my consent or knowledge! Fellow congressman on same flight said she does it repeatedly. @united pic.twitter.com/ Q2c6u6B0Yp
— Jean-Marie Simon (@ JeanMarieSimon1) December 23, 2017
According to Simon, a” fellow Congressman” told her that Lee does this all the time: BTAG 2 TT 12/18: United gave my paid 1stclass seat( 1A) on #788 to Sheila Jackson Lee. United: “not our fault, “but SJL escorted on by uniformed United b/ 4 pre-board military, babies, disabilities. Fellow Congressman said he saw her do it 3x; it’s”embarrassing.” #sheilajacksonle #unitedAIRLINES
— Jean-Marie Simon (@ JeanMarieSimon1) December 19, 2017
BTAG 3 TT Rep. SheilaJacksonLee( D-TX) took my United 1A seat Houston-DC on 12/18/ 17. I was at Gate E IAH w/ 1st class boarding pass, early; she had United wipe my seat and entire reservation from system.Congressman on plane said he’s considered her do it 2x before. Dishonor on you! @JacksonLeeTX18
— Jean-Marie Simon (@ JeanMarieSimon1) December 21, 2017
The AP reported that United has since apologized to Simon, and that’s been picked up by a variety of other media outlets: BTAG 4 TT United Airline apologizes after giving passenger’s seat to a congresswoman https :// t.co/ fYwSukjs6 7
— TIME (@ TIME) December 26, 2017
The new heavyweight champ has caused outrage with his comments about homosexuality, women and religion. More than 80,000 have demanded his disqualification from the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. But is there another side to this divisive sporting star?
The year 2013 is right for Jessica Ennis-Hill, the early favourite for this years BBC Sports Personality of the Year( Spoty) awarding. Already an Olympic champion, Ennis-Hill was made a CBE and offered the Freedom of the City of Sheffield. Similarly, Andy Murray, the second favourite for this years BBC gong, won Wimbledon, watched by his wonderfully supportive family, and later became an OBE.
For Tyson Fury, the newly crowned heavyweight champ of the world and a late entrant on the listing for the BBCs top award, 2013 was a bit more complicated. Rewind two years and Fury, an foreigner even in an outsider athletic, was busy telling an interviewer before his first oppose at Madison Square Garden that he would hang his own sister if she was promiscuous. In March that year, he was fined APS3, 000 for calling fellow fighters David Price and Tony Bellew gay lovers. In September, he was publicly pleading for the release from prison of his father, Gypsy John Fury, who was serving nine years for gouging a mans eye out during a street oppose albeit a human who was, according to Gypsy John, attempting to chew his face off at the time.
Little wonder the presence of Fury on the Spoty shortlist has created such friction over the past week. More than 82,000 people have now signed a petition indicating Furys opinions on homosexuality should disqualify him from the BBC awards. The trigger was an interview before his title fight with Wladimir Klitschko last month. Fury had, as he tends to, begun discussing Armageddon and the end of the world, offering up the opinion that the legalising of abortion, paedophilia and homosexuality equivalents in his scriptural reads would signify a kind of Old Testament-derived reckoning.
A week afterward, interviewed about his previous interview, Fury threatened to have the journalist involved violently beaten up by his entourage. In the same interview, he was asked his opinion of Ennis-Hill. Thats the runner, isnt it? Shes good, shes won quite a few medals, she slaps up good as well, Fury replied. When shes got a dress on she seems quite fit.
He was, to be fair, fostering on matters of female boxers, applauding their choice to enter the athletic, before adding weirdly: I believe a womans best place is in the kitchen and on her back. Thats my personal notion. Making me a good cup of tea, thats what I believe. Tyson, thanks. And on that bombshell its back to you, Sue Barker, in the studio.
If there is something startling about hearing these kind of views voiced by an -Alist sportsperson in the mainstream media, then the sense of worlds colliding, of something raw and genuinely other about the current heavyweight champ, extends route beyond the BBCs annual vicars tea party. Those hearing that jabbering Lancastrian monotone for the first time, taking in that 6ft 9in( 2.06 m) shaven-headed, motor-mouthed, deeply menacing figure, might be seduced to reject Fury as simply a bully and a goon, a Twitter troll induced flesh, Dapper Laughs with muscles. Seem a little bit closer and it might be easy to write him off as a injury plenty, some deep male nightmare of rage and exclusion, unformed and raw, blinking in the illumination, Beowulf licking his chops.
The truth, as ever, is less clear-cut. Fury is more than simply a cartoon, something other than simply a tedious loudmouth. At the very least, hes an interesting loudmouth, by all close accounts that rare specimen, the tender and personable bully, a macho braggart who also acknowledges to being terribly fragile beneath the bluster.
But then boxing is a athletic that has always inhabited the margins. This is a genuinely extreme sort of human activity, a matter of formalised violence and sculpted rage, practised in the main by those with little opportunity to pursue anything else.
For all the noise and violence, it is impossible to become a champion boxer without possessing supreme high levels of discipline, competitive intelligence and tactical wit. Fury spoke like a dolt either side of his world title bout in Dusseldorf last month. But, in the midst of it all, he fought a brilliantly controlled, intelligent heavyweight bout to take the title, a staggering achievement for a man who, five years ago, was living in a caravan in Morecambe, and whose life has been a peculiarly extreme mixture of the disorderly and the doctrinal.
Born in Manchester into a family of Irish Traveller heritage, Fury was named after Mike Tyson by his father, himself a former pro heavyweight. He has described his childhood as a kind of rolling trauma. When I was a kid, we didnt have a family life. My mom and parent were always hollering and calling and reaching each other. My dad had different women and different kids down the road. My mum had 14 pregnancies but only four of us survived.
Fury was trained by his father and uncles, and was a good, if not exactly stellar, junior, becoming national champ in 2008. Success now is unlikely to change a comparatively humble lifestyle. Fury still lives in Lancashire. Husband to Paris, parent to Venezuela and Prince, with another baby on the way, he can be, according to those who know him, a hospitable, gentle, funny, talkative, slightly disarming presence.
He has apologised for his comments about Price and Bellew. A statement put under by his uncle Peter Fury last week read: I would like to put on record that I am not homophobic. I have homosexual friends and I do not judge them because of their sexuality. My commentaries that you may have read are from the holy scriptures, and this is what I live from.
If there is a degree of disarray in Furys public positions, there is a clarity in his view of his own fighting fate, which he sees as a mix of two righteous traditions. Not only was his father a fighter, Fury is also a remote relative of Bartley Gorman, the bare-knuckle king of the 1970 s and 80 s who fought in quarries and at horse fairs, and who remains a Traveller legend. I am fighting royalty, Fury once said. I have Gypsy kings on both sides of the family.
This ethnicity is, for Fury, crucial. People have got to understand that our lifestyle is altogether, entirely different, he has said. We may be the same colour, and we may speak the same speech, but deep inside we are nothing alike. We are aliens. In Furys version, this is a muscular, patriarchal world of blood ties and blood feud, where women have no rights( In our culture it is all about “the mens”, the men can do everything, and women only clean and cook and have children and look after that man ).
It was here, in the idea of noble familial tradition, that the idea of murdering his sister first cropped up in public: That is our route. Just like the Muslims have their routes. We have our routes. There are these girls who want to open their legs to every Tom, Dick and Harry. But they are looked upon as rubbish in our community. We dont do stuffs like that. If I had a sister who did that Id hang her. She would bring disgrace on the family. It is a very, very bad thing to do. We dont do that. Women have to be pure and respectful.
Men, meanwhile, must oppose. If you want to fight, you take your shirt off, you go outside and you have a knuckle-up, and the best man shakes his hand and they go off for a beverage, Fury has said. Ive had hundreds of challenges at Traveller meets. They get a few beers in them and they start thinking they are Tyson or Ali; throwing punches, swearing and jumping around with their big fat bellies. Id love to knock a few of them out.
There is almost an underdog warrior monarch aspect to all this, a Hollywood-ish quality, in an emissary of this fat-bellied, car-park-fighting tradition becoming the heavyweight champion of the world. That is, if you are able soft-pedal the other side of this twin sense of fate: Furys rigidly censorious kind of born-again Christianity. Like quite a few violently newsworthy young men these days, the current heavyweight champ is also a religious zealot. Fury was radicalised by his uncle Ernest, a born-again Christian and preacher. It is from his read of the Bible that his more controversial, illiberal faiths appears to springtime, including the idea that the correct penalty for paedophiles( a recurrent theme, for some reason) would be to let them in a room with me and two hammers, Ill smash them to pieces.
Beyond religion, beyond family, the third component in this holy trinity of outsiderdom is depression. Those who gratify Fury often talk about his sudden tenderness, the startling contrast between a boxers bombast and some genuinely open and frank dark-night-of-the-soul stuff. Others can feel disturbed by a human who talks about the world ending, and objective it all, with alarming frequency. I do sometimes suppose life is pointless, Fury told the Guardian Donald McRae in 2011. One minute Im over the moon and the next minute I feel like get in my automobile and running it into a wall at a hundred miles an hour. I dont know whats wrong with me. Im messed up.
As, for now, is the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, clouded not only by Furys presence but by a more generalised sense of embarrassment. Certainly, the idea that sportspeople should be ushered out of sight because a voluble majority aversion their political and religion opinions is unlikely to leave us with many left to look at. Hopefully I dont win @BBCSPOTY as Im not the best roll model[ sic] in the world for the children, give it to someone who would appreciate it, Fury tweeted shortly after the petition against his presence had been launched. Ragged, raw, funny, blinkered, tetchy, champing, dunderheaded: Fury is both a genuine sport superstar and a voice from the fringes, unvarnished, untempered, unapologetic. One thing is certain: he is unlikely to go away any time soon.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Christian college moves to fire professor who said Muslims worship same god1 month, 27 days ago
Larycia Hawkins, a tenured associate prof at Wheaton College, attained headlines after wearing headscarf following San Bernardino shooting
A Christian college in suburban Chicago has launched termination proceedings against a tenured prof who was suspended last month for saying Christians and Muslims adore the same deity.
Larycia Hawkins, an associate professor of political science at Wheaton College, confirmed the decision at a press conference on Wednesday. The 43 -year-old professor described national attention in December for her decision to wear a headscarf to show solidarity with Muslims, following the mass shooting in San Bernardino, which authorities said was inspired by Islamist terrorists.
I want the focus to be taken away from Wheaton not doing right by me, Hawkins told the Guardian last month. Thats bad but whats even worse is the kind of tolerance towards the bigotry, for the Islamophobia, for the political rhetoric and[ how] we dont check politicians.
The college has not taken a position on Hawkins decision to wear a hijab, but has previously said her statements on social media about Christianity and Islam required further theological clarification before she could return to work. The prof was placed on administrative leave on 15 December.
Hawkins comments, the college said, conflicted with its statement of religion, which is a guiding decide of religious beliefs at the core of Wheatons education that faculty members sign and must abide by.
Wheaton recognizes that there may be a range of views among our faculty and staff considering contemporary issues, the college has said. However, we take the Statement of Faith seriously; as members of this voluntary community, all faculty and staff are expected not merely to sign it as a cursory requirement of employment, but also to assert it as an expression of their own beliefs.
Hawkins has been asked on three previous occasions to affirm Wheatons statement of faith.
On Tuesday, the college said in a statement that its notice of a recommendation to begin the process of firing Hawkins doesnt represent a termination: Instead, it begins Wheaton Colleges established process for employment actions pertaining to tenured faculty member.
This Notice follows the impasse reached by the parties, the college said. Following Dr Hawkins written reaction on December 17 to questions regarding her theological sentences, the college requested farther theological debate and clarification. However Dr Hawkins declined to participate in farther dialogue about the theological implications of her public statements and her December 17 response.
Hawkins responded on Wednesday at a press conference inside the Chicago Temple, saying shes a woman on a spiritual journey.
I am flabbergasted at the steps taken by Wheaton College, Hawkins, who wasnt wearing a hijab at the press conference, said. The professor was flanked by Wheaton alumni, activists and religion clergy, including the Rev Jesse Jackson.
Students and those in favour of Hawkins, who has been with the evangelical college for nine years, have rallied on social media in recent weeks under the hashtag #ReinstateDocHawk, calling for Wheaton to reinstate the professor. An online petition has collected over 54,000 signatures.
A final decision on Hawkins employment may not come for weeks. During the termination proceedings, the college said a hearing will be held by a personnel committee in the next 30 days. Following the hearing, a recommendation on the profs tenure will be forwarded to Wheaton president Philip Ryken.
The college president then will make a recommendation to the Wheaton board of trustees, which makes the final call on Hawkins job.
Despite the ongoing disagreement with Wheaton, Hawkins made clear that she holds no hard feelings against college officials.
I have no hatred in my heart for Wheaton College or any administrator or human there, she said. Praise God.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Muhammad Ali, Greatest Boxer Who Riveted World, Dies at 743 months, 3 days ago
Muhammad Ali, the brash, fleet-footed heavyweight boxing champion whose charisma transcended athletics and stimulated him a global symbol of social change, has died at 74.
He succumbed Friday, Bob Gunnell, a spokesman for the family, said in an e-mailed statement. Ali, who called himself The Greatest, was hospitalized in the Phoenix area with respiratory problems earlier this week, the Associated Press reported. He suffered from Parkinsons disease, a neurological affliction that some doctors attributed to the numerous jolts to the head he took during two decades as a boxer.
Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period, President obama said Saturday in an e-mailed statement. Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it. We are all better for it.
Alis illness prematurely stillness one of the great self-promoters, agitators and entertainers in sports history. He delighted sportswriters with his poetic putdowns of opponents and was outspoken as well on race, religion and war. He managed to emerge from his firebrand years as something of a statesman, saluted during the opening ceremonies of the 1996 and 2012 Summer Olympics.
He defended his religion in December after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trumps proposed call for a ban on Muslim immigration to the United States, saying in a statement to NBC News that Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda.
For columnist Stephen L. Carters take on Ali, click here
For more coverage of Alis life and legacy, click here
In the ring, Ali pulled off some of boxings biggest upsets. He first won the heavyweight title in 1964 by defeating the fearsome Sonny Liston. Exiled from boxing for more than three years for refusing military induction during the Vietnam War, Ali returned to the ring and reclaimed the heavyweight belt by handing George Foreman his first defeat in the 1974 Rumble in the Jungle.
He lost the title to Leon Spinks in 1978, then beat him in a rematch to become the first three-time heavyweight champion in history — a feat later surpassed by Evander Holyfield.
His three bouts with Joe Frazier are considered the greatest trilogy ever, with Frazier handing Ali his first defeat in their initial fight and Ali winning the next 2, including the Thrilla in Manilla — a tournament so brutal that Ali compared it to death. The Ali-Frazier rivalry was a personal feud that stemmed from Alis ridicule of Frazier as a gorilla and too ugly to be the champion.
I hated Ali, Frazier said in Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times, a 1991 biography by Thomas Hauser. God might not like me talking that style, but its in my heart.
A frail-looking Ali attended Fraziers funeral in November 2011 after his contenders demise from liver cancer. I will always recollect Joe with respect and admiration, Ali said in a statement.
Elite Fight Club
On Saturday, Foreman paid tribute. Ali, Frazier& Foreman we were 1 guy; a part of me slipped away the greatest piece Muhammad Ali, he said on Twitter.
Others from the elite group to have earned the title of world heavyweight champion also weighed in. God came for his champion. So long great one, tweeted Mike Tyson. Holyfield posted a photo of himself with Ali, saying RIP my brother I will never forget you. And Lennox Lewis tweeted, A giant among humen, Ali displayed a greatness in talent, heroism& conviction.
The Louisville Lip early in his career because of his Kentucky hometown and his brag, Ali called himself The Greatest and wrote poems predicting in which round his opponent would fall.
His playful public image became more serious when, days after beating Liston in 1964, he joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, as bestowed by the spiritual leader Elijah Muhammad. While some viewed the move as an act of black pride, others criticized him for joining what they considered an extremist group.
Asked in 1985 how Muhammad Ali differed from Cassius Clay, Ali answered, according to Ira Berkow of the New York Times 😛 TAGEND