TEMPE, Ariz. (KSAZ)
Tonight at the Islamic Community Center of Tempe, people came together to remember a champion.
"He's a boxer, he's a legend, but he's also a Muslim and so we felt like if anyone should give him respects, it should be us," said Zarinah Nadir, the prayer service organizer.
The Islamic Community Center in Tempe opened its doors to the entire community for a prayer service honoring Muhammad Ali.
"I think he was an unofficial and the best spokesperson that we could have ever had. We as a Muslim community do not have a unified government or a unified clergy such as the Pope or the Catholics, but I guess you would say for usual Ali was our unofficial spokesperson" Nadir said.
Tonight’s ceremony included a traditional Islamic Prayer and talks given by people of all faiths whose lives were impacted by the fearless fighter.
"Muhammad Ali is the greatest of all-time."
"Anyone I could tell, I would tell them about Muhammad Ali and just his drive as a man and as a boxer and a humanitarian."
Prayer organizer Zarinah Nadir met Ali back in 1992 when he visited the first mosque in Arizona.
"I vividly remember him being so jovial, fun, and light hearted with all of us kids, you know we were just 12 years at that point, he was doing his magic tricks, but we just felt so proud that he came and he was a part of us, he was our brother."
Nadir says since the day Ali converted to Islam in 1964, he's lived true to the faith, helping others to do the same.
"Our faith is about helping those who are not able to help themselves and our faith is about justice, so his humanitarian work with working with those who have experienced illness that is definitely part of our faith, if our neighbor is hurting and we are well, we are not well until our neighbor is feeling better.”