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Thousands gathered at Freedom Hall on Thursday for a Muslim funeral prayer service in honor of Muhammad Ali.

A diverse crowd gathered for the service, which was open to the public and held at the site of Ali’s last hometown fight in 1961. Notable figures from Ali’s life also attended, including boxing promoter Don King and civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Salaam Bhatti came from New York City to attend.

“Muhammad Ali became a household name, and essentially he was the first Muslim a lot of people knew in life,” Bhatti said. “And now in death, his funeral is the first Muslim funeral prayer service many will get to witness. And it’s something that he would be so proud of.”

A lighter moment for children at the service for Ali. J. Tyler Franklin | wfpl.org

A lighter moment at the service for Ali.

Nancy Demartra from Louisville attended with several friends to honor The Champ, and also to make a statement.

“I think we need to support the Muslims, because they are as important as anybody else,” Demartra said. “They are under attack, and that is wrong.”

A public memorial service will be held Friday afternoon at the KFC Yum Center.

Click here to see more photos from the service. 

Tara Anderson is the host and producer of Five Things, a podcast about the objects that tell our stories.