The Courier-Journal from Louisville, Kentucky on April 26, 1986 · Page 11
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The Courier-Journal from Louisville, Kentucky · Page 11

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Louisville, Kentucky
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Saturday, April 26, 1986
Page:
Page 11
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V.--'v B 12 THE COURIER-JOURNAL, SATURDAY, APRIL 26, 1986 Ali uses his old magnetism to spread message of Islam By GLENN RUTHERFORD Staff Writer Muhammad Ali, a bit heavier but still pretty after all these years, - dropped into the newspaper office yesterday to continue what has become his life's work spreading the message of Islam. T ', He passed out scores of auto- graphed prayer books, part of the thousands he has given away in the three days he has been back home, and entertained anyone who cared to watch by levitating, or at least appearing to rise a couple of inches - off the floor while standing. - Ali also talked of his mission, which he says has become an all-consuming passion. - "I've dedicated the rest of my life to this book, to spreading the word of Allah," he said. "The book is sooooo good; there are so many things in it that people need to know." After an interview, he spent more , than four hours in the lobby of the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times Co. building, signing and giving away more than 900 prayer books. Workers flocked downstairs and people who were in the building for business got into line to receive a free copy of "Prayer and Al-Is lam." ; - Though he speaks haltingly and at ; times seems a bit unsteady on his ' , feet, the charm of the man many , have called the most famous person on Earth is still apparent. Journalists, who are used to see ing celebrities now and then, crowd- , ed around the former heavyweight , boxing champion in the newsroom to shake his band and take a copy of - his prayer book. ? Ali, who suffers from Parkinson's -. syndrome, was accompanied by an ; - associate named Mahdi, who said he . will be traveling with the champ "'when he leaves for India and Aus tralia next month. "A hundred million Muslims in In dia," Ali said, bis eyes flashing with the fire that is familiar to boxing fans and others who have followed the Louisville native's life. "A hundred million black people and I'm going to see them. They're just like you," he said, pointing to a black Journalist, "only they don't have your name. "We're free now, but we kept the slave name," he said, suddenly , speaking with clarity. "You see a - man named Chief Littlehorse and , you know he's an Indian. See a man named Wan Lu and you know he's Oriental, or a man named Ghandi and you know he's from India. But somebody says, 'Here comes Jones' or 'Here comes Clay, and you don't know who he is. Ali said he has passed out many Insurance firm buys part of health network INDIANAPOLIS (AP) A Metro politan Life Insurance Co. subsid iary has bought part of a statewide health-care network that has 25 Indiana hospitals among its members. More than 1,400 physicians par ticipate in the network. The organization, founded in 1982 as Physi cians & Hospitals Alliance, has more than 21,000 clients. Metropolitan Life's subsidiary, MetLife HealthCare Management Corp., purchased the share of Physi cians & Hospitals for an undisclosed sum. The organization will be known as MetLife HealthCare Network of Indiana and will provide health-insur ance options to businesses. -to.!'"! Armstrong 1 ROSES Many Varieties Available Mon.-Fri. 7:30-6 Saturday 7:30-5 939 E. Jefferson St. 584-0136 The Courier-Journal Advertising Standards Advertising published in The Courier-Journal is accepted on the premise that the merchandise and services offered ore accurately described and willingly sold to customers at the adver tised price. Advertisers are aware of these conditions. Advertising that does not conform to these standards or that is deceptive or mislead ing is never knowingly occepted. If any Courier- Journal reader encounters noncompliance with these standards, we ask that you inform The Courier-Journal Advertising Department 582- 4384 525 West Broadway or your Better Business Bureau 583- 6546 844 S. Fourth more books in Louisville than anywhere else in his current tour of the United States. The hardcover books cost $15 each, Mahdi said. "I had 135,000 printed," Ali said, "and I got an order in for another half a million. My whole being is dedicated to propagating Islam." Every year that he lives, he said, brings his knowledge of death into sharper focus. "We're all going to die soon," he said, speaking so softly he could barely be heard. "I realize now how real death is, but now I can also see God. I see him in the faces of the people I meet, and I see him far more easily than I used to." His work makes him happy, Ali said; it fills him with a satisfaction far greater than any he knew as a boxer. "The joy is in doing the work, doing right," Mahdi said. "Isn't that so, Ali?" The champ nodded. "Oh my, it's wonderful," he said, spreading his arms. "It's more than you can imagine. You do believe in God, don't you?" For the next few minutes, Ali turned the tables on the interviewer, quizzing him about religion and personal metaphysics. "Wait a minute, Ali," said Mahdi, "you're gonna convert this man." Then Ali stopped to do a bit of magic and joke with those around him. "See that man right there?" he said, pointing across the room to Mahdi. "His real name's Richard Pryor." By the time Ali left the newsroom, he had signed and handed out most of the two cartons of books he had brought. He and Mahdi were on their way out of the building when a group of schoolchildren, far too young to remember his heyday In the ring, spied the champ. They crowded around, gazing at the pretty face and the famous hands and body. For a moment, things were just as they once were; he was in his element, surrounded by an adoring throng of children. 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