The Cable

Watch Bill Clinton and Others Memorialize International Icon Muhammad Ali

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will not attend after his requests to honor Ali were denied.

19 Apr 1991:  Muhammad Ali looks on during a bout between Evander Holyfield and George Foreman at Caesar''s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Barry Jarvinan  /Allsport
19 Apr 1991: Muhammad Ali looks on during a bout between Evander Holyfield and George Foreman at Caesar''s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mandatory Credit: Barry Jarvinan /Allsport

The eyes of the nation, and perhaps much of the world, are trained on Louisville, Kentucky Friday, as boxer Muhammad Ali is laid to rest. This includes Jordan’s King Abdullah, but not Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan cut his trip to Louisville short, participating in a Muslim ceremony to honor Ali Thursday but leaving before Friday’s events. The private Dogan news agency reported that the Turkish leader was angry that funeral organizers denied his request to lay a piece from the cloth covering the Kaaba, in Mecca, on Ali’s coffin.

Former President Bill Clinton, comedian Billy Crystal, and others are set to memorialize Ali, the three time heavyweight champion whose social stances — including unapologetically converting to Islam and refusing to fight in the Vietnam War — were as well known as his exploits in the ring. He died on June 3 at the age of 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Watch Ali make his final journey and his memorial service below.

Photo credit: BARRY JARVINIAN/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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