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Muhammad Ali's son asked, 'Are you Muslim?' by border agents

Ali Jr., 44, who confirmed his Muslim faith, was detained about two hours, despite telling officials that he's Ali's son and a native-born U.S. citizen, said Chris Mancini, a family friend and attorney.

Returning from a Black History Month event in Jamaica, Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother, Khalilah Camacho Ali, were pulled aside and separated from each other on Feb. 7 at the immigration checkpoint at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, said Mancini.

Camacho Ali was released a short time later after showing a photo of herself with her ex-husband, the former heavyweight boxing champion, Mancini said. But Ali Jr. was not carrying a photo of his world-famous father — a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

It was the first time Ali Jr. and his mother have ever been asked if they're Muslim when re-entering the United States, Mancini said.

"From the way they were treated, from what was said to them, they can come up with no other rational explanation except they fell into a profiling program run by customs, which is designed to obtain information from anyone who says they're a Muslim," Mancini said in a phone interview. "It's quite clear that what triggered his detention was his Arabic name and his religion."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Daniel Hetlage confirmed Saturday evening that Ali Jr. was held for questioning by customs officers, but said "it wasn't because he's a Muslim and it wasn't because of his Arabic-sounding name."

The agency said in a statement that its officers process more than 1.2 million international travelers daily with "vigilance and in accordance with the law." It said it does not discriminate based on religion, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

"We treat all travelers with respect and sensitivity," the agency said. "Integrity is our cornerstone. We are guided by the highest ethical and moral principles."

During his detention, Ali Jr. was asked repeatedly about his lineage and his name, "as if that was a pre-programmed question that was part of a profile," Mancini said.

Ali Jr. and his mother have been frequent global travelers. The family connects their treatment to President Donald Trump's efforts to restrict immigration after calling during his campaign for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

"This has never happened to them before," Mancini said. "They're asked specifically about their Arabic names. Where they got their names from and whether they're Muslims. It doesn't take much to connect those dots to what Trump is doing."

Camacho Ali and Ali Jr. live in Florida. They have not traveled abroad since, and are considering filing a federal lawsuit, he said.

Asked why the matter was just now coming to light, Mancini said: "Khalilah had prior commitments as did I and when she finally got in to see me for a legal opinion of what they did, I brought it to the media immediately."

Ali, the three-time heavyweight champion and humanitarian, died last June at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. People lined the streets of Louisville, Kentucky, to say goodbye to the city's most celebrated son before a star-studded memorial service watched worldwide.

Photos: 2017 Spirit Awards show

Photos: 2017 Spirit Awards red carpet

Academy revokes '13 Hours' sound mixer's Oscar nomination

One day before the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has voted to rescind the sound mixing nomination for Greg P. Russell for his work on "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi." The decision, announced Saturday, was due to Russell's violation of Academy campaign regulations.

The statement says Russell violated strict rules applied to telephone lobbying.

Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement that they take "very seriously the Oscars voting process."

"13 Hours" is still eligible for the award, but only for mixers Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth. At the Oscars on Sunday, the "13 Hours" crew is competing against the sound mixing team from "Arrival," ''Hacksaw Ridge," ''La La Land" and "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."

Academy revokes '13 Hours' sound mixer's Oscar nomination

One day before the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has voted to rescind the sound mixing nomination for Greg P. Russell for his work on "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi." The decision, announced Saturday, was due to Russell's violation of Academy campaign regulations.

The statement says Russell violated strict rules applied to telephone lobbying.

Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement that they take "very seriously the Oscars voting process."

"13 Hours" is still eligible for the award, but only for mixers Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth. At the Oscars on Sunday, the "13 Hours" crew is competing against the sound mixing team from "Arrival," ''Hacksaw Ridge," ''La La Land" and "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."

Fox News' Swedish 'security advisor' has heads scratching

A trans-Atlantic wave of puzzlement is rippling across Sweden for the second time in a week, after a prominent Fox News program featured a "Swedish defense and national security advisor" who's unknown to the country's military and foreign-affairs officials.

Swedes, and some Americans, have been wondering about representations of the Nordic nation in the U.S. since President Donald Trump invoked "what's happening last night in Sweden" while alluding to past terror attacks in Europe during a rally Feb. 18. There hadn't been any major incident in Sweden the previous night.

Then, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly convened an on-air faceoff Thursday over Swedish immigration and crime between a Swedish newspaper reporter and a man identified on screen and verbally as a "Swedish defense and national security advisor," Nils Bildt.

Bildt linked immigration to social problems in Sweden, lamented what he described as Swedish liberal close-mindedness about the downsides of welcoming newcomers and said: "We are unable in Sweden to socially integrate these people," arguing that politicians lacked a systematic plan to do so.

But if viewers might have taken the "advisor" for a government insider, the Swedish Defense Ministry and Foreign Office told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter they knew nothing of him. Calls to Swedish officials Saturday weren't immediately returned.

Bildt is a founding member of a corporate geopolitical strategy and security consulting business with offices in Washington, Brussels and Tokyo, according its website. His bio speaks to expertise on defense and national security issues, saying his experience includes serving as a naval officer, working for a Japanese official and writing books on issues ranging from investment and political climates to security issues in working in hostile environments.

But security experts in Sweden said he wasn't a familiar figure in their ranks in that country.

"He is in not in any way a known quantity in Sweden and has never been part of the Swedish debate," Swedish Defence University leadership professor Robert Egnell said by email to The Associated Press on Saturday. He and Bildt — also known then as Nils Tolling — were in a master's degree program in war studies together at King's College London in 2002-2003, and Bildt moved to Japan soon after, he said.

The executive producer of "The O'Reilly Factor" said Bildt was recommended by people the show's booker consulted while making numerous inquiries about potential guests.

"After pre-interviewing him and reviewing his bio, we agreed that he would make a good guest for the topic that evening," executive producer David Tabacoff said in a statement.

The network said O'Reilly was expected to address the subject further on Monday's show.

Bildt didn't respond Saturday to email inquiries; a person who answered the phone at his company agreed to relay one. He told Dagens Nyheter on Friday that he was a U.S.-based independent analyst, and Fox News had chosen its description of him.

"Sorry for any confusion caused, but needless to say I think that is not really the issue. The issue is Swedish refusal to discuss their social problems and issues," he added in a statement to the news website Mediaite, explaining his profession as being an independent political adviser.

Trump's initial remark about "last night in Sweden" stirred a burst of social media mockery, while Trump explained on Twitter that he was referring to a Fox News piece on immigration and Sweden that he'd seen the night before.

Trump and his supporters, though, saw vindication when a riot broke out Monday after police arrested a drug suspect in a predominantly immigrant suburb of Stockholm. Cars were set on fire and shops looted, but no one was injured.

Trump took to Twitter again Monday to declare that large-scale immigration in Sweden was "NOT!" working out well, upsetting many Swedes.

___

Associated Press writers Jan Olsen in Copenhagen and Mesfin Fedaku in New York contributed to this report.

Fox News' Swedish 'security advisor' has heads scratching

A trans-Atlantic wave of puzzlement is rippling across Sweden for the second time in a week, after a prominent Fox News program featured a "Swedish defense and national security advisor" who's unknown to the country's military and foreign-affairs officials.

Swedes, and some Americans, have been wondering about representations of the Nordic nation in the U.S. since President Donald Trump invoked "what's happening last night in Sweden" while alluding to past terror attacks in Europe during a rally Feb. 18. There hadn't been any major incident in Sweden the previous night.

Then, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly convened an on-air faceoff Thursday over Swedish immigration and crime between a Swedish newspaper reporter and a man identified on screen and verbally as a "Swedish defense and national security advisor," Nils Bildt.

Bildt linked immigration to social problems in Sweden, lamented what he described as Swedish liberal close-mindedness about the downsides of welcoming newcomers and said: "We are unable in Sweden to socially integrate these people," arguing that politicians lacked a systematic plan to do so.

But if viewers might have taken the "advisor" for a government insider, the Swedish Defense Ministry and Foreign Office told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter they knew nothing of him. Calls to Swedish officials Saturday weren't immediately returned.

Bildt is a founding member of a corporate geopolitical strategy and security consulting business with offices in Washington, Brussels and Tokyo, according its website. His bio speaks to expertise on defense and national security issues, saying his experience includes serving as a naval officer, working for a Japanese official and writing books on issues ranging from investment and political climates to security issues in working in hostile environments.

But security experts in Sweden said he wasn't a familiar figure in their ranks in that country.

"He is in not in any way a known quantity in Sweden and has never been part of the Swedish debate," Swedish Defence University leadership professor Robert Egnell said by email to The Associated Press on Saturday. He and Bildt — also known then as Nils Tolling — were in a master's degree program in war studies together at King's College London in 2002-2003, and Bildt moved to Japan soon after, he said.

The executive producer of "The O'Reilly Factor" said Bildt was recommended by people the show's booker consulted while making numerous inquiries about potential guests.

"After pre-interviewing him and reviewing his bio, we agreed that he would make a good guest for the topic that evening," executive producer David Tabacoff said in a statement.

The network said O'Reilly was expected to address the subject further on Monday's show.

Bildt didn't respond Saturday to email inquiries; a person who answered the phone at his company agreed to relay one. He told Dagens Nyheter on Friday that he was a U.S.-based independent analyst, and Fox News had chosen its description of him.

"Sorry for any confusion caused, but needless to say I think that is not really the issue. The issue is Swedish refusal to discuss their social problems and issues," he added in a statement to the news website Mediaite, explaining his profession as being an independent political adviser.

Trump's initial remark about "last night in Sweden" stirred a burst of social media mockery, while Trump explained on Twitter that he was referring to a Fox News piece on immigration and Sweden that he'd seen the night before.

Trump and his supporters, though, saw vindication when a riot broke out Monday after police arrested a drug suspect in a predominantly immigrant suburb of Stockholm. Cars were set on fire and shops looted, but no one was injured.

Trump took to Twitter again Monday to declare that large-scale immigration in Sweden was "NOT!" working out well, upsetting many Swedes.

___

Associated Press writers Jan Olsen in Copenhagen and Mesfin Fedaku in New York contributed to this report.

Foreign language directors gather once more before Oscars

One day after the Oscar-nominated directors of foreign language films issued an unprecedented joint statement decrying what they say is a climate of fascism, five of them gathered Saturday at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to put the focus back on their work.

The foreign language film race has been overshadowed and informed by President Donald Trump's seven-country travel ban, which resulted in the Iranian Oscar-nominated director of "The Salesman," Asghar Farhadi, announcing that because of the ban, he would not attend Sunday's ceremony.

Academy Governor Mark Johnson, who moderated the discussion, said that he has talked to Farhadi several times in the past week.

"He has made it clear that he is so humbled to be nominated again," Johnson said. "(He) has chosen not to come for I think reasons we all applaud and completely understand."

Farhadi previously won the Oscar in 2012 for "A Separation."

The statement, which was issued collectively but largely written by "Toni Erdmann" writer and director Maren Ade, was the result of a few meetings and emails about what the directors in the category could do to stand in solidarity with Farhadi.

"We wanted to do something if we could. It had a reasonably slow gestation, a few days talking about it, but it was really our collective view," said "Tanna" co-director Martin Butler of Australia.

"Land of Mine" director Martin Zandvliet added, "We thought it was appropriate to come up with something to show our support."

For Ade, it was simply the best way to convey what they were all feeling.

"At the Oscars, we don't know who will win, and the time there is very short," Ade said. "It's a complicated topic and an important topic."

Although films as disparate as a father-daughter comedy and a World War II-era land mine drama have been thrust into a political context that they never foresaw, during the panel the focus turned back on the individual films.

Ade, whose "Toni Erdmann," from Germany, was a favorite to win before the travel ban thrust "The Salesman" into the spotlight, said that she just "wanted to do a film about family and all of these roles that you play in your family."

A remake of "Toni Erdmann," a festival favorite, is already in the early stages of development with Jack Nicholson and Kristen Wiig attached to star.

Swedish director Hannes Holm, nominated for "A Man Called Ove," about a widower whose suicide plans get thwarted by needy neighbors, said that in adapting the somewhat comic best-seller he "found the love story of my parents hidden in there."

Danish director Zandvliet, whose "Land of Mine" is nominated, said that he bristled at the idea that the world thought of Denmark as a "happy fairy tale country where only good stuff happens."

"I thought it was about time to tell the story from the other side that we're also very hateful and lust for revenge," Zandvliet said. "I wanted to make one of those stories."

His movie, he said, while set in WWII, gained an important historical context.

"There was all the talk about closing down Europe, the Syrian refugees, everyone was a terrorist," he said. "Suddenly the movie became about how we treat each other ... The only way we can get people to listen is to show them something horrible."

The "Tanna" directors, too, wanted to tell stories of a place that few had heard about before — a tiny island just a three-hour flight away from the Australia mainland where four languages are spoken.

Ultimately, the celebration of the foreign language category, which Johnson said has gotten, "stronger and stronger," came back to the one director who wasn't there — Farhadi.

"All of you have signed a statement in response to things that are going on," Johnson said. "It's not just in defense of artists rights, but human rights. It's kind of remarkable."

Foreign language directors gather once more before Oscars

One day after the Oscar-nominated directors of foreign language films issued an unprecedented joint statement decrying what they say is a climate of fascism, five of them gathered Saturday at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to put the focus back on their work.

The foreign language film race has been overshadowed and informed by President Donald Trump's seven-country travel ban, which resulted in the Iranian Oscar-nominated director of "The Salesman," Asghar Farhadi, announcing that because of the ban, he would not attend Sunday's ceremony.

Academy Governor Mark Johnson, who moderated the discussion, said that he has talked to Farhadi several times in the past week.

"He has made it clear that he is so humbled to be nominated again," Johnson said. "(He) has chosen not to come for I think reasons we all applaud and completely understand."

Farhadi previously won the Oscar in 2012 for "A Separation."

The statement, which was issued collectively but largely written by "Toni Erdmann" writer and director Maren Ade, was the result of a few meetings and emails about what the directors in the category could do to stand in solidarity with Farhadi.

"We wanted to do something if we could. It had a reasonably slow gestation, a few days talking about it, but it was really our collective view," said "Tanna" co-director Martin Butler of Australia.

"Land of Mine" director Martin Zandvliet added, "We thought it was appropriate to come up with something to show our support."

For Ade, it was simply the best way to convey what they were all feeling.

"At the Oscars, we don't know who will win, and the time there is very short," Ade said. "It's a complicated topic and an important topic."

Although films as disparate as a father-daughter comedy and a World War II-era land mine drama have been thrust into a political context that they never foresaw, during the panel the focus turned back on the individual films.

Ade, whose "Toni Erdmann," from Germany, was a favorite to win before the travel ban thrust "The Salesman" into the spotlight, said that she just "wanted to do a film about family and all of these roles that you play in your family."

A remake of "Toni Erdmann," a festival favorite, is already in the early stages of development with Jack Nicholson and Kristen Wiig attached to star.

Swedish director Hannes Holm, nominated for "A Man Called Ove," about a widower whose suicide plans get thwarted by needy neighbors, said that in adapting the somewhat comic best-seller he "found the love story of my parents hidden in there."

Danish director Zandvliet, whose "Land of Mine" is nominated, said that he bristled at the idea that the world thought of Denmark as a "happy fairy tale country where only good stuff happens."

"I thought it was about time to tell the story from the other side that we're also very hateful and lust for revenge," Zandvliet said. "I wanted to make one of those stories."

His movie, he said, while set in WWII, gained an important historical context.

"There was all the talk about closing down Europe, the Syrian refugees, everyone was a terrorist," he said. "Suddenly the movie became about how we treat each other ... The only way we can get people to listen is to show them something horrible."

The "Tanna" directors, too, wanted to tell stories of a place that few had heard about before — a tiny island just a three-hour flight away from the Australia mainland where four languages are spoken.

Ultimately, the celebration of the foreign language category, which Johnson said has gotten, "stronger and stronger," came back to the one director who wasn't there — Farhadi.

"All of you have signed a statement in response to things that are going on," Johnson said. "It's not just in defense of artists rights, but human rights. It's kind of remarkable."

Trump says he won't attend correspondents dinner this spring

President Donald Trump, who has been criticizing the news media and is famously thin-skinned, says he won't be attending the White House Correspondents' Association dinner — sparing himself the dubious honor of being an in-the-house target of jokes.

The annual fundraiser for college scholarships and venue for reporting awards mixes politicians, journalists and celebrities and is typically attended by the president and first lady. Remarks by a comedian, often roasting the president, and a humorous address by the president himself, often roasting the press and political opponents, have highlighted the event, which C-SPAN has carried live.

In a tweet Saturday, Trump wrote: "I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!" He gave no reason for not attending.

Trump has long had an adversarial relationship with news media. Since taking office, however, he has stepped up his criticism by accusing some prominent news outlets of publishing "fake news" and calling them "the enemy of the American People!"

Trump had been a regular at the WHCA dinner in recent years, befitting his celebrity status as a reality TV star and beauty pageant owner. He skipped the dinner in April 2016, which came amid the presidential campaign and was the last of the dinners in which President Barack Obama was the honored guest. That didn't mean Trump wasn't the butt of jokes. At one point Obama told guests that Trump "has spent years meeting with leaders from around the world — Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan."

If he attended the dinner Trump would be a prime target of jokes, the camera showing his reaction to one-liners. In 2011, he was on hand — and appeared humiliated — as Obama lobbed joke after joke at his expense. At the time Trump was a proponent of the debunked claim that Obama wasn't born in the U.S.

In a statement following Trump's tweet, WHCA President Jeff Mason said: "The WHCA takes note of President Donald Trump's announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic."

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