With anti-Muslim sentiment on the rise, Muhammad Ali issues a strong response.

Muhammad Ali is a legend.

Photo via AFP/Getty Images.


He's legendary for his incredible boxing skill, his civil rights activism, and his poetically provocative quotes on boxing, on life, and on human rights.

Agree or disagree with his opinion, you can't deny that Ali has never been afraid to stand up for what he believes in, especially when it comes to his religion.

"I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world," Ali writes in a statement.

In the letter, Ali writes about the cost of painting Islam as a religion of violence, calling on all Muslims to "stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda." That misrepresentation, he says, prevents people from learning about Islam the same way people learn about Christianity or Judaism.

Ali's letter comes in response to the recent uptick in violent cases of vandalism against Muslims across America (such as a severed pig's head left at a Philadelphia mosque), which themselves are likely responses to the recent murders in San Bernardino, California, and the ISIS attacks in Paris.

This retaliation and fear of innocent Muslims is being stoked and encouraged by presidential candidates, perhaps most explicitly by GOP candidate Donald Trump.

Though Ali never names Trump specifically in his statement, it's no coincidence that the letter arrived on the heels of Trump claiming not to know of any Muslim athletes.

Despite the fact that Trump has met Ali before.

Donald Trump presents Muhammad Ali with United Cerebral Palsy's Humanitarian Award in 2001. Photo by George De Sota/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Ali's statement is a voice of reason in an election season dominated by wildly bigoted rhetoric.

In his statement, Ali calls on political leaders to use their power to clarify and correct misconceptions of Islam as they see them:

"Speaking as someone who has never been accused of political correctness, I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people's views on what Islam really is."

The millions of Muslims worldwide who aren't affiliated with extremist groups shouldn't have to prove that their religion isn't violent any more than all Christians should have to defend their religion when Christian terrorists kill people at women's health clinics.

Actions speak loudly, but words have their own power — if anyone knows how true that is, it's Muhammed Ali.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon