This Arabic name of ALI was a baptismal name 'the son of ALI' meaning 'high, exalted'. The name was taken into Sicily by the Saracen's in the 9th century. Notable members of the name include ALI (who died in the year 661) who was the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad and fourth caliph. He converted to Islam while still a boy, and later married the prophet's daughter Fatima. He withdrew, or was excluded from government during the caliphates of Abu-Bakr and Umar, and disagreed with Uthman in the interpretation of the Qu'ran and application of the law. He was elected caliph, but encountered considerable opposition, led by the governor of Syria, the beginning of a major division with Islam which has persisted to the present day. He was murdered in the mosque at Kufa, his capital, by a member of a third Muslim party, the Kharijites.
Muhammad ALI (formerly Cassius Marcellus Clay), born in 1942, is the American boxer and world heavyweight champion three times. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, he won the Olympic amateur light-heavyweight title at Rome in 1960. After turning professional, he won the world heavyweight title in 1964. He became politicized and joined the 'Black Muslim' sect in 1964, changed his name to Muhammad ALI and refused military service on religious grounds; for this he was sentenced to prison and stripped of his title in 1967, but had it restored in 1970 when the Supreme Court quashed his conviction. He retired in 1981.
The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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