Saad Chishty, a WMU-Cooley law student belonging to to Michigan’s Democratic Caucus and Unity Center, was invited to attend, along with other community leaders, Muhammed Ali’s funeral ceremony at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. He would have the privilege to meet and interact with special keynote speakers and foreign dignitaries. This kind of rare, historical experience is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity – in law school and in life. Saad didn’t need to think twice.
“I must admit, it was truly an amazing, breathtaking, surreal and humbling experience to be in the presence of such profound, prolific, reputable and world renowned historical leaders and other notable celebrities. People of all faiths, colors, creed were present to pay their respects to the Greatest of All Time.”
Saad went on to praise the 3-time heavyweight champion’s contributions to society. “He was a true humanitarian who spent the entire span of his life building bridges between different faiths and cultures.” Creating bridges instead of barriers is the culture embraced in his WMU-Cooley Law School community too.
“The entire experience was exceptional and unreal,” reflected Saad. He was able to offer his condolences to Muhammed Ali’s immediate family members, including his brother, wife, Lonnie, daughter Leila, and other childhood buddies.
“In accordance with the Islamic burial custom, Muhammed Ali’s casket was brought into the Freedom Hall for a prayer service,” shared Saad. “There were close to 14,000 guests simultaneously chanting in Arabic, ‘There is no God, but the one and only incomparable God of Abraham.'”
Saad remembered writing a biographical report on the Rev. Jesse Jackson in elementary school. “It was a dream come true to meet the man who participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches organized by James Bevel, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders in Alabama. Rev. Jackson, to me, is an American civil rights activist, Baptist minister, and politician, including a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988.”
“It’s not every day that one gets to bid farewell to the People’s Champ and sit down with civil rights leaders like Rev. Jesse Jackson,” shared Saad. “I shook his hand and he hugged me – and we shared a conversation. I was honored and humbled to be in the presence of so many role models that I admired growing up.”