In 1964, a young boxer named Cassius Clay (“the Louisville Lip”) won an upset victory over Sonny Liston. Later that year, Clay changed his name from Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. to Cassius X, then to Muhammad Ali. Ali initially joined the nation of Islam (promoting “the Honorable” Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X) and refusing to be drafted into the Vietnam War. In interviews, Ali said that he changed his name because “Clay was a white name” and “a slave name,” while “Muhammad” and “Ali” weren’t. Ali eventually left the Nation of Islam and became an orthodox Sunni Muslim, though still later he became a Sufi. Following his death in 2016, Ali had a Muslim funeral and an Islamic prayer service.
Oddly enough, Muslim sources say that Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was white, and that both he and his son-in-law Ali owned black slaves. Even more strange, Muhammad Ali was originally named after Cassius Marcellus Clay, the nineteenth-century Kentucky abolitionist who helped convince Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Hence, the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time was deceived by Islam. In this video, David Wood discusses how Muslim preachers took advantage of Ali’s ignorance of his own history and of the history of Islam.