Muhammad Ali asks Iran's leader to show mercy on American hikers
Three-time heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali sent a letter to Ayatollah 
Sayyid
 Ali 
Khamenei urging compassion.
March 16th, 2011
08:06 PM ET

Muhammad Ali asks Iran's leader to show mercy on American hikers

Muhammad Ali made an impassioned plea as a "brother in Islam" to Iran's supreme leader for the release of two American hikers who have been held in the country since July 2009.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were detained along with friend Sarah Shourd on accusations of spying and trespassing after they allegedly strayed across an unmarked border into Iran while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Fattal and Bauer's espionage trial began in February without Shourd, who was released on bail in September 2010 because of a medical condition and immediately left the country. She has not responded to a court summons to return to stand trial, and authorities have said she will be tried in absentia.

In a brief letter to Ayatollah 
Sayyid
 Ali 
Khamenei, Ali, a devout Muslim, asked the Supreme Leader to show the same compassion to Fattal and Bauer that was bestowed upon Shourd.

"I 
am 
humbled 
by 
the 
compassion 
you 
gave 
to 
their 
young 
female 
friend
 Sarah 
Shourd, 
by 
allowing 
her 
to 
return 
to 
her 
family. 

I 
ask 
the 
same
 mercy 
and 
compassion 
be 
given 
to 
them 
as 
well," he wrote.

"
My 
last 
visit 
to 
Tehran 
was 
some 
years 
ago 
but 
I 
remember 
it 
as 
if 
it
 were 
yesterday. 

The 
people 
were 
so 
kind 
and 
beautiful. 
Most 
Americans
 don’t 
know 
how 
warm 
and 
welcoming 
the 
Iranian 
people 
can 
be. 

One
 day, 
I 
hope 
I 
am 
able 
to 
return 
to 
Tehran 
to 
stand, 
greet 
and 
be 
among 
my 
Iranian 
brothers 
and 
sisters 
once 
again," he continued.

"
Please
 show
 the 
world 
the 
compassion 
I 
know 
you
 have 
in
 your 
heart.
"

The three-time world heavyweight champion changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali after he joined the Nation of Islam in the 1960s. He converted to Islam in 1975.

The men's families released a statement thanking Ali for his support.

"We are deeply grateful to Mr. Ali and the many other people around the world who know that Shane and Josh absolutely do not deserve to be in prison. We hope and pray that Iran hears this appeal and responds with compassion. It is time for this nightmare to end."

All three have pleaded not guilty. Fattal and Bauer, both 28, are being held in Iran's notorious Evin prison. Their trial will resume May 11, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported Sunday, citing the head of the Justice Ministry.

Post by:
Filed under: Iran
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Muhammad

    NONE IS GOD EXCEPT ALLAH

    March 17, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Muhammad

    Allah said I could take a 9 year old girl as a bride. Praised be his name.

    March 17, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • btuck

      Ha ha, It's funny cause it's true!

      March 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ed Bailey

    @usan k, thank you very much for a very informative insight into your observations and thoughts about Iran.your bravery and intelligence are easily noticed. Please be cautious, not in words but in your personal safety!bad people never leave good people alone. I know I'm surrounded by evil!

    March 17, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. Cesar

    @Sassann K and Davids: I posted that but I didntt meen it. I beinhg drinkinhg. Forgive mee I'm so stupid

    March 17, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy

    Hey, Ray Lewis:

    I happen to like the real Cesar, goofy as he is at times. That's part of his charm. My head is stuck up *nobody's* ass...what kind of half-assed compliment is that, anyway? Although I do appreciate the "half" part of it!
    🙂

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    And no, peeps, I'm not upset. You know what I mean!

    March 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar

    @banasy: Ray Lewis is a ningkungpoop. Glad you told him off. I'm off to Wal-Mart in search of a good shopping cart. Am taking my Black-Berry.

    March 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TOMAS

    @ANON (post#22): THANK U FOR INSULTING ME "IDIOT" FOR APPRECIATING THE GOODWILL EFFORT OF DYING AMERICAN MAN. HE'S NOT PERFEECT, NON OF US IS. BUT WHAT HE DID INSPIRED ME TO sAVE A LOT OF LIVES BACK THERE AND HERE IN THE STATES. MAYBE HE'D BECOME A HERO TO U IF HE WAS BLOWING UP INNOCENT SOULS FOR A DOLLAR PROFIT. GOOD MAN DESERVE THEIR NOBLE CREDIT FOR THE LITTLE THEY DO THAT MEAN THE WORLD TO THOSE THEY HELPED. IF YOU'RE AGAINST THAT, ITS OK. I UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY.

    March 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Cesar

    @Sassan K: Please ignore fake Cesar. He is not well and very delusional. He is a pioneer in the Tea Party movement-truly disgusting man. I am the True Cesar, and I appreciate your post. Excellent as I said earlier.

    March 17, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TOMAS

    Wzrd1, he's dying of a sickness thats for sure. But a 10yr being inspired by an old man doing his best until his final breath can only wish that man live long for the betterness of the world he'll soon leave behind. Instead of praying for politicians/immorals, be wise and grateful we have people ali doing their best up the to heal wounds caused by greed. Maybe your prayers can help give comfort to more building america's image in a good and smallest way. If he died, lot of the children who are left stranded in struggles as a result of washington trying to control the whole world will have less than ali has given and will give. Clinton, bush, and now obama only has what it takes to hurt millions of children. But ali and other good americans help them find courage to still believe this country and all of us in it are not as bad as our elected reps make it seems. Shouldn't live long for that? Can u pray he finds peace while helping others no matter what his personal conditions?

    March 17, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Peter Wolfe

    I think the last few posts have hit it on its head. The fact is that the U.S hedgemony is coming to an end with growing counter weights telling the world that we need harmony not dictatorship corporation support. We need to understand that we can respect one another for our differences without interfering with human rights just as simple as tht. some nations are better in certain areas than in others, however, no nation not even the great U.S.A is perfect. Far be it for me to say that we need to put down the weapons to hear the greviances of the Iranian people and their government to see how to resolve issues like climate change in the Middle East is seriously needing to be addressed like over population and a numerous other thigs that don't need bickering to do it for now in.

    Basiclally, keep up the good fight Ali on your endeavors from us minorities of reasonable americans. Funny how americans mention under age marriage when not so long ago we did the same like this and it took us centuries to rid ourselves of things like child labour, polygmy by mormons, slavery, segrgation, discrimination (sstill exist for u disabled), etc and yet we think things will change over night in ths third wold nations? Ha, also funny the double standard on the death penalty by stoning for adulty can anyone remember the Salem Witch Trials or the Hathorn Scarlet Letter or anything in the past in America? Dude perhaps Americans need to read more than just cnn.com, foxnews.com, time.com and focus on Google Scholar and other real journal articles.

    March 17, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
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