Islamic Funeral Held for Muhammad Ali Draws Thousands of Mourners [PHOTO]
An Islamic prayer service for Muhammad Ali drew thousands of mourners, both celebrities and family members alike, at the Kentucky Exposition Center in the boxing legend’s hometown of Louisville, Ky., on Thursday (June 9).
According to reports, an estimated 14,000 people, attended the jenazah, or funeral in Arabic, where the four-time world heavyweight boxing champion was remembered for his achievements in the ring as well as his humanitarian efforts outside of the ring.
During the 45-minute service, Imam Zaid Shakir, a respected Muslim-American scholar, encouraged attendees to continue in Ali’s legacy of helping people with acts of charity.
Among the high-profile celebrities in attendance included Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, boxing promoter Don King, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, boxing legends Sugar Ray Leonard and Bernard Hopkins and singer Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens. In addition, Muhammad Ali’s second wife, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, his fourth wife Lonnie Ali, daughters Laila and Hanna Ali, and other family members were in attendance as well.
“Ali will never die. His spirit will live on,” boxing promoter Don King told Reuters.
Ali will be buried on Friday (June 10), after a funeral procession and before a memorial service where thousands are expected to attend and bid a final farewell to “The Greatest.” Will Smith, who played Ali in the eponymous 2001 biopic, is among the pallbearers. Funnyman Billy Crystal and former U.S. President Bill Clinton are among the dignitaries attending the ceremony at KFC Yum Center.
Check out the photos from today’s funeral service below.