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Muhammad Ali Hits at Trump and 'Misguided Murderers' Sabotaging Islam

Like the champion fighter he is, Muhammad Ali took jabs Wednesday at "so called Islamic Jihadists" and those who would "use Islam to advance their own personal agenda."

"I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world," the former heavyweight champion of the world and peace activist declared in a statement to NBC News. "True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion."

Image: Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali attends the 2014 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards on Sept. 27, 2014 in Louisville, Ky. Stephen J. Cohen / Getty Images, file

But the real target of Ali's roundhouse was Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The statement never mentions Trump by name — but its headline is "Presidential Candidates Proposing to Ban Muslim Immigration to the United States."

"We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda," Ali said. "They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody."

Ali's punch came just three days after Trump said on Twitter that he couldn't recall any great American Muslim athletes — even though he's met Ali several times.

Related: Donald Trump Forgets Muslim Champions During Obama Criticism

Here's the champ's full statement:

I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world. True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.

We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.

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.