On the day he was buried in Louisville, Kentucky, Muhammad Ali was remembered at prayer services at mosques across San Diego county.
“We are mourning his loss, but also celebrating his legacy of committing himself to different parts of the U.S. This was his legacy to bring the whole country together and help them to understand the importance of struggling for the betterment of society,” said Imam Taha Hassane, Director of the Islamic Center of San Diego.
About 500 worshippers gathered for the 1:30 p.m. prayer service on Friday that focused on Ramadan, but also honored the iconic boxer.
“He made us feel good about who we are as American-Muslims, about our political identity and about our faith and religion,” the Imam told the gathering.
According to the Center for Islamic-American Relations (CAIR), Muhammad Ali was in San Diego in 1985. A photograph shows Ali holding a checkbook.
A CAIR spokesperson said the fighter made a sizeable contribution to help with the construction of the Islamic Center of San Diego.
“If it wasn’t for his contributions, this mosque may not have ever been here. A mosque that has served thousands upon thousands of Muslims and thousands upon thousands of individuals that are not part of the Muslim community but are part of the greater community here in San Diego,” said Fayaz Nawabi of CAIR.
After 31-years, nobody could recall the amount of money Muhammad Ali contributed. But the Imam called it part of Ali’s lasting legacy, calling him a beloved role model, a champion, and a great peace activist.
“We learned how to work for justice, we learn how to be persistent, not to give up even if we are left alone, if the entire world is against us, as long as I know I am doing the right thing,” said Imam Taha Hassane.