Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., known as Muhammad Ali, was an American professional boxer, activist, entertainer, poet, and philanthropist. Ali stood against the Vietnam War, spoke out repeatedly against racism, and later campaigned against Islamophobia in the US following the 9/11 attacks. Drafted into the military in April 1967, he refused to serve on the grounds that he was a practicing Muslim minister with religious beliefs that prevented him from fighting. He was arrested for committing a felony and almost immediately stripped of his world title and boxing license. Muhammed also focused on practicing his Islamic duty of charity and good deeds, donating millions to charity organizations and disadvantaged people of all religious backgrounds. In 1974, he visited a Palestinian refugee camp in Southern Lebanon, where he declared “support for the Palestinian struggle to liberate their homeland’’. Muhammad Ali was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, followed by the Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold of the UN Association of Germany (DGVN) in Berlin for his work with the civil rights movement and the United Nations. On November 19, 2005, the $60 million non-profit Muhammad Ali Center opened in Louisville. In addition to displaying his boxing memorabilia, the center focuses on core themes of peace, social responsibility, respect, and personal growth.
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