When they went through the procedure of airport routines, Homeland Security personnel detained Ali Jr. for 20 minutes. According to his mother Camacho-Ali, her son was detained by immigration officials because of his Arabic-sounding name.
In an email exchange with The Courier-Journal, a TSA spokesman bristled at the suggestion Ali Jr. was detained, writing, "In the security world detain means to take into custody".
According to NBC New York, Muhammad Ali, Jr. was traveling from Washington, D.C.to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., when he was stopped.
Later on, a photo surfaced via social media, featuring Ali and congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida's 23rd District, posing on a plane.
Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said a call was made to confirm Mr Ali's identity when he arrived an at an airport check-in counter on Friday.
"None of this was happening Wednesday", Mancini said in a telephone interview.
The TSA said it did not detain Ali Jr., but only stopped him to verify his identity. They further added that he was not detained as they do not have the authority to carry out that action.
Officials refused to let Ali Jr. on the JetBlue plane, rejecting his identification and repeatedly asking him where he was from, the lawyer said. She said he also was patted down because his jewelry set off a checkpoint scanner alarm.
Though the U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a statement to the Washington Post asserting that the agency does not discriminate "based on religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation", it is notable that Ali and his mother had these experiences while Trump's travel bans were in effect.
Ali Jr. said he felt "violated" and that he was "religiously profiled".
Ali is a Muslim born in Philadelphia and holds a US passport. They did not ask about his religion. The forum was organized by Democratic lawmakers.