In the days following 9/11 -- while practically every religious organization in the world made strong statements condemning this vicious attack -- I was concerned that there didn’t seem to be much of an outcry from the Muslim world.
Several years later, in Turkey, I met a Muslim gentleman who explained that the likely reason no such prominent statement was made was that unlike most religions, Islam has no one pre-eminent living figurehead -- no Pope, as it were -- and that made it hard for them to speak with a unified voice.
I let that sit until last week, when I read the eloquent statement issued by Muhammad Ali in which he said, “I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people … true Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.”
And then it hit me. Who better to be that voice -- to galvanize the world’s many peace-loving Muslims by condemning the extremists who have hijacked their religion for their own purposes?
My respect for Muhammad Ali has always been great, but it’s only increased since last week. I’m proud to know he calls Louisville home, and I not only appreciate what he did with this statement, but I’d love to see him continue in this peacemaker’s role. That would truly be "the Greatest."
Call and share your thoughts.
I’m Bill Lamb and that’s my Point of View.