Rousing tributes have been paid to boxing legend Muhammad Ali at a memorial service in his home city of Louisville, Kentucky.
Boxing legend, ex-heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali died last Friday. He was 74 year old. Thousands of people said farewell as his coffin went through his home city of Louisville, Kentucky. He was buried as per rites in a private ceremony attended by his close friends and family.
Ceremony started with a Koran reading in Arabic. Imam Hamzah Abdul uttered Sura Fosselat, Prostration chapter 41 verses 30-35, which says: “Truly those who say our Lord is God and are righteous, the angels will descend upon them saying have neither fear nor sadness but rather rejoice in this paradise that you have been promised.”
All religion dignitaries were present at KFC YUM! Centre, including thousands of people, who got free tickets.
Authorities praised for his continuous fight for civil rights. Minister Kevin Cosby said: “Before James Brown said ‘I’m black and I’m proud’, Muhammad Ali said ‘I’m black and I’m pretty’.” Rabbi Michael attacked inequality against black people and Muslims, saying “the way to honour Muhammad Ali is to be Muhammad Ali today – speak out and refuse to follow the path of conformity.”
Muhammad Ali’s wife Lonnie inspired the crowd with recollecting words of Ali which he often use to say and said “If Muhammad didn’t like the rules, he rewrote them. His religion and his beliefs mattered him the most. Ali wants youngsters from different background to witness his life as proof and understand that hard times can make you stronger. Never lose the power to dream, and achieve your dream, and make it a reality.”
Bill Clinton said Muhammad Ali was “a free man of faith”. He decided very young to write his own life story. I believe Ali would not be ever dis-empowered. Nothing such as his race, place, background, positive or negative would pull from him the power to write his own story.”
Post retirement, rumors spread of his bad health. Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Syndrome yet he made public appearances, receiving warm greetings wherever he went. Ali lit the Olympic cauldron at the 1996 Games in Atlanta and carried the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony for the 2012 Games in London.
He was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC.