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Muhammad Ali Jr. was detained and questioned at a Washington airport on Friday before being allowed to board a flight to Fort Lauderdale, a lawyer for the late heavyweight champion’s son said.
Ali had traveled to Washington on Wednesday, without incident, to speak with members of a congressional subcommittee on border security about a previous detention. Ali and his mother, Khalilah Camacho Ali, were stopped at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after returning from Jamaica on Feb. 7.
Attorney Chris Mancini said Ali was detained for 20 minutes after attempting to board a JetBlue Airways flight home to Florida on Friday. Mancini said Ali spoke to Department of Homeland Security officials by telephone and showed his driver’s license and passport before being allowed to board.
Ali’s identity was confirmed by the agency before boarding the flight, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration said.
“None of this was happening Wednesday,” Mancini said in a telephone interview. “Going to Washington obviously opened up a can of worms at DHS.”
Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was on the same flight as Ali. Schultz tweeted a photo with Ali saying that “religiously profiling son of ‘The Greatest’ will not make us safe.”
— D Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) March 10, 2017
Ali told members of Congress on Thursday that he felt like his “human rights” were violated.
“I felt just like I felt at my father’s funeral. I didn’t know what to think. I was just dumbfounded,” Ali said.
The mother and son have said in interviews that they believe they have been stopped because they are Muslim with Arabic names. Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother are both born in the United States.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.