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November 2020


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Tag: Nation of Islam

FBI Records: Agents Spied on Muhammad Ali Because of Ties to Nation of Islam

Muhammad Ali in 1966

Muhammad Ali in 1966

By Steve Neavling

The FBI spied on late boxer Muhammad Ali in 1966, keeping tabs on his divorce and a speech at a Miami mosque, while agents investigated the Nation of Islam, according to newly released documents by the bureau.

The documents were released on the FBI’s website and first reported but the New York Times on Thursday.

The FBI stressed in documents that Ali was not personally under investigation, but his connection to the Nation of Islam made him an interest “from an intelligence standpoint.”

The documents, which refer to Ali by his birth name Cassius Clay, show agents monitored his divorce.

“The Miami (FBI) office is requested to follow the divorce action between Cassius and Sonja Clay with particular emphasis being placed on any NOI (Nation of Islam) implication being brought into this matter,” one memo stated.

The bureau also alluded to a speech at a Miami mosque, where Ali talked about efforts to remove his heavyweight title.

Ali was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, leading to the stripping of his boxing title in 1967.

Muhammed Ali’s Boxing Trainer Met Secretely with FBI about Nation of Islam

Steve Neavling 

Muhammed Ali’s trainer and promoter met with FBI agents in 1964 to share information about the boxer’s ties to Nation of Islam, according to confidential documents obtained by The Smoking Gun.

Two weeks before Ali beat Sonny Liston in the famous fight, trainer Angelo Dundee and his brother Chris, who promoted the fight, provided the identities of members of the Nation of Islam, The Smoking Gun reported.

Three weeks later, Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammed Ali and joined the Nation of Islam.

The FBI was worried about the Nation of Islam, calling it a “semi-religious Negro organization which preaches extreme hatred of the white man.”