Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Ali not so much a conscientious objector

I just saw this on the Spectrum website: "In this episode we're celebrating the life of Muhammad Ali among the Adventists in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Brenton Reading talks briefly about the upcoming Adventist Forum conference with Greg Boyd on the non-violent atonement. Alisa Williams shares some anecdotes on Muhammad Ali in and around Berrien Springs, Michigan. Finally, longtime Spectrum reader, Tom Kimmel, reflects on having Muhammad Ali as his neighbor and friend for thirty-five years."

I did not listen to the podcast about how it was to live in the same city with Ali. I only recently discovered that Ali was not a conscientious objector as I had always thought.  (I am also skeptical of the non-violent atonement topic, as Jesus was obviously violently treated by people and yet the atonement is brought into view by the treatment of God by man.)

In an article by Dr. Zuhdi Jasser I saw the following.

"There are many things to praise about Ali, but his 1971 comments in Clay vs. United States on the U.S. military and war are certainly not among them.

There is no denying that Muhammad Ali inspired, and continues to inspire, many. However, when I later learned about theocratic Islamism and its shar’iah state, I began to recognize that Ali, at times, said and believed things that were deeply troubling–things he may not have believed at his death, but that we certainly wouldn’t promote today because we would recognize how deeply radicalizing those ideas would be to young, impressionable Muslims.

Whatever one’s feelings about the merits of the Vietnam War, or even about the draft, Muhammad Ali’s statements about enlisting in the military were deeply problematic and actually had little to do with either. His position has been vastly oversimplified as a conscientious objection (CO) based on the fact that African-American citizens of the United States were already involved in a war for their own rights and the draft had accentuated that disparity. However, his real views at the time were something else entirely: he refused to join the military or defend the United States because the brand of Islam he espoused would not allow him to join anything other than a holy war, or a “war declared by Allah.

Perhaps Senator Paul, in his rush to appear progressive and to remain relevant, missed these statements in Ali’s 1971 testimony:


…and the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad tell us, and it is that we are not to participate in wars on the side of nobody who — on the side of nonbelievers, and this is a Christian country, and this is not a Muslim country…So, according to the Holy Qur’an, we are not to even aid in passing a cup of water to the even a wounded."
This testimony is, without a doubt, representative of the radical ideology Ali left later in life. But let’s be honest. These views on war and loyalty in particular are not unlike the views of those youth who leave the United States or Europe to join the Islamic State (IS), believing that they must fight in a great “cosmic war” against the “infidel.”

2 comments:

Mary said...
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CHERRY SHANE said...
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