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.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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