As Thought Front discussed the other day, Muhammad Ali’s funeral would likely have some major awkwardness if it occurred under a President Trump with a Muslim entry ban in place, given the Champ’s worldwide following by people of all faiths.
When that post was published Monday, it was not yet clear who would attend the funeral, so we could only speculate which Muslims from other countries would have been shut out.
But with the event having taken place, one can easily note the attendees who fit the above criteria.
To begin, there were two Muslim heads of state: King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The latter only attended a smaller traditional Muslim funeral, called a jenazah, on Thursday, reportedly due to disagreements over what he could do at Friday’s ceremony.
But while Erdoğan skipped the memorial service, his adviser and former NBA player Hidayet Türkoğlu was there.
Another speaker Trump would have kept from attending was Timothy Gianotti, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Waterloo in Canada and a spiritual adviser to Ali.
And Cat Stevens aka Yusuf Islam, who attended the Thursday service, would also have had to sit out the event.
Some non-celebrities would have been unable to attend. That includes another person with the name Muhammad Ali, named after the boxer, who traveled from Bangladesh to pay his respects at Thursday’s event.
In all likelihood there will not be exact figures of how many Muslims from other countries attended Ali’s memorials. However, what is clear is that a Muslim entry ban would have yet another disastrous consequence.