Muhammad Ali has a pop at Donald Trump over his plan to ban Muslims

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Muhammad Ali has criticised Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, urging Muslims "to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda".

Boxing great Ali issued a statement saying: "True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion."

"I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people's views on what Islam really is," he added.

Ali's statement did not identify Mr Trump by name but was directed at "presidential candidates proposing to ban Muslim immigration to the United States".

"They have alienated many from learning about Islam," Ali wrote.

President Barack Obama, in a televised address on Sunday night, called on Americans to reject discrimination, saying: "Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbours, our co-workers, our sports heroes."

On Twitter early on Monday, Mr Trump asked: "What sport is he talking about, and who?" - even though the Republican presidential frontrunner has met Ali several times, and even received an award named after the former heavyweight champion in 2007.

The 73-year-old Ali, who was born Cassius Clay, converted to Islam and changed his name in 1964.