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'Worthy of all praises': Muhammad Ali and the politics of identity

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Muhammad Ali’s appeal and fame has transcended the boundaries of sport and national borders. This article examines why Ali has been such a key figure and role model for many non-white communities and especially the Muslim and South-Asian Diaspora. It highlights historical developments in Ali’s boxing career that helped make his a symbol of anti-racism and the personification of an assertive black consciousness. These historical developments are further linked to the issue of identity politics, including the relationship of Ali to terms such as ‘black’ and ‘Muslim’.Finally Ali’s appeal as an international diplomat is discussed, where Ali is seen as a Muslim who is accepted and respected by many non-Muslims in the West.In the current climate of the ‘war on terrorism’ his image and personality has been employed by the White House to win appeal with the Muslim world.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-04-08

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