WASHINGTON - Talented Britain's Muslim boxer Amir Khan could serve as a promising ambassador for Islam who would play an important role in combating growing anti-Muslim prejudice in the west, the British icon's US promoter told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Thursday, December 8.
"He has the character and the background to unite the cultures very well," said Golden Boy Promotions chief executive officer Richard Schaefer.
"He has what it takes to be that ambassador, to unify countries and people."
Khan, of Pakistani origins, became the WBA World light-welterweight champion on 18 July 2009, becoming Britain's third-youngest world champion after Naseem Hamed and Herbie Hide.
He was also the former Commonwealth lightweight champion, WBO Inter-Continental lightweight champion, and WBA International lightweight champion.
He was also awarded a lightweight silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Turning 25 on Thursday, Khan will defend his World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation light-welterweight titles in Washington on Saturday against hometown hero Lamont Peterson.
The rising British icon had a similar challenge in the US capital last September when he was welcomed as a special guest of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
During that visit, Khan took part in a dinner paying tribute to Muslim athletes to celebrate `Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
"It was a big thing to be invited by the secretary of state," Khan said.
During the visit, Khan said he found the meeting as a good opportunity to show the world successful patriot Muslim stars in different fields.
"It was a tremendous honor when you think of how many Muslims there are in the world and how many big sports stars there are, Khan told AFP.
"It was an opportunity to send out some good messages, for people to respect who we are. I've never been shy of speaking about my religion."
Admiring Khan's comments during the US visit, the promoter said he would not be surprised to see Khan follow the path of Filipino star Manny Pacquiao, a member of Congress in his homeland who has aspirations of one day serving as president.
"He might not be like Manny, running for president, but I think he has a tremendous future in politics as well," Schaefer said.
"That (Clinton's invitation) shows he is being recognized at the highest level to be such an ambassador."
However, Khan, who participates in charity work, confirmed that he had no political ambitions.
"I'm a normal guy. I'm going to stay away from politics," Khan said.
"There is a lot of stuff happening in the Middle East and Pakistan, but I don't want to get into it too much.
"I like helping people, doing charitable work, making things better."
Khan has given to charity, helping raise $125,000 for "Islam Help" in September to bring food, water and medicine to needy areas in drought-stricken East Africa.
Britain is home to nearly 2 million Muslims.
A 2009 ICM/Guardian poll showed that 91 percent of British Muslims are "loyal" to Britain and 80 percent wanted to live in and accept Western society.
Another report submitted by think tank Demos last November found that 83% of Muslims were proud of being British.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net