A rabbi received a standing ovation for his powerful speech at Muhammad Ali's funeral

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Rabbi speaks out for Muslims at Ali memorial

Rabbi Michael Lerner delivered a powerful eulogy for boxing legend Muhammad Ali at his funeral on Friday, praising Ali for daring "to love black people at a time when black people had a hard time loving themselves" and calling for an end to Islamophobia.

Thousands of friends, family, celebrities, and political figures attended Ali's traditional Muslim memorial service in Louisville, Kentucky, which spanned more than two days. Ali died last week at 74 from complications related to his Parkinson's disease.

SEE ALSO: Fans, family honor life of Muhammad Ali at his funeral

"Muhammad Ali had the courage to say no to Farrakhan and leave the anti-Semitism and homophobia of that part of Islam, and eventually to draw sustenance from the Sufi approach to Islam — the ultimate in a love-oriented religion," Lerner said, according to a transcript of the eulogy provided to Israeli news outlet Haaretz in advance of the funeral.

Louis Farrakhan Sr. is the leader of the religious group the Nation of Islam, with which Ali became affiliated in the 1960s.

"If Muhammad Ali were here today, I'm sure his message would be this: Don't waste your time on this planet fighting the small battles — put your life energies and money into fundamental systemic transformation," said Lerner, who is also a political activist and editor of the Jewish magazine Tikkun.

See more from Ali's funeral procession:

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Muhammad Ali's funeral procession through Louisville
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A rabbi received a standing ovation for his powerful speech at Muhammad Ali's funeral
Muhammad Ali's funeral procession passes as onlookers line the street Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Hana Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali, is throw flowers as she rides in her father's funeral procession while it enters Cave Hill Cemetery, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A mourner holds a photo of Muhammad Ali, as she waits for the procession to pass with the hearse carrying the body of Muhammad Ali, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
A mourner throws a rose onto the hearse carrying the body of the late Muhammad Ali as it enters Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. June 10, 2016. REUTERS/John Sommers II
LOUISVILLE, KY - JUNE 10: Police wait the hearse carrying the body of Muhammed Ali to pass by his childhood home on June 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. The funeral possession wound through Louisville, preceding a memorial service and giving the public an opportunity to honor the four-time world heavyweight boxing champion, who died on June 3 at age 74. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - JUNE 10: People wait along the childhood street of Muhammed Ali for his funeral procession to pass by on June 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. The procession preceded a memorial service, giving the public an opportunity to honor the four-time world heavyweight boxing champion. Ali died on June 3 at age 74. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Muhammad Ali's funeral procession passes as onlookers line the street Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Police stand guard along a rose petal covered entrance way to Cave Hill Cemetery before the arrival of Muhammad Ali's funeral procession, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Ali's body will rode in a miles-long procession spanning his life â from his boyhood home where he shadowboxed and dreamed of greatness to the boulevard that bears his name and the museum that stands as a lasting tribute to his boxing triumphs and his humanitarian causes outside the ring. Ali died last Friday at 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A spectator holds a rose as he waits for the arrival of Muhammad Ali's funeral procession to enter Cave Hill Cemetery, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Ali's body will rode in a miles-long procession spanning his life â from his boyhood home where he shadowboxed and dreamed of greatness to the boulevard that bears his name and the museum that stands as a lasting tribute to his boxing triumphs and his humanitarian causes outside the ring. Ali died last Friday at 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
LOUISVILLE, KY - JUNE 10: People get their picture taken in front of Muhammad Ali's childhood home on Grand Avenue on June 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. The funeral procession for Ali will be traveling over 20 miles on a designated route throughout Louisville. The four-time world heavyweight boxing champion died on June 3 at age 74. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
Actor Will Smith greets the crowd as he arrives with Muhammad Ali's funeral procession while they enter Cave Hill Cemetery, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Ali's body will rode in a miles-long procession spanning his life â from his boyhood home where he shadowboxed and dreamed of greatness to the boulevard that bears his name and the museum that stands as a lasting tribute to his boxing triumphs and his humanitarian causes outside the ring. Ali died last Friday at 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Muhammad Ali's funeral procession passes as onlookers line the street Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Flowers pile up on the hearse carrying Muhammad Ali as spectators watch his funeral procession enter Cave Hill Cemetery, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Ali's body will rode in a miles-long procession spanning his life â from his boyhood home where he shadowboxed and dreamed of greatness to the boulevard that bears his name and the museum that stands as a lasting tribute to his boxing triumphs and his humanitarian causes outside the ring. Ali died last Friday at 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
LOUISVILLE, KY - JUNE 10: Friends and family of Muhammad Ali shake hands with people in the crowd lining Grand Avenue as the funeral procession motorcade drives in front Ali's childhood home on June 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. The funeral procession for Ali was traveling over 20 miles on a designated route throughout Louisville on the way to Cave Hill Cemetery. The four-time world heavyweight boxing champion died on June 3 at age 74. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - JUNE 10: Brown Rawls (man middle) and his family have their photo taken in front of a Muhammad Ali back drop in the front yard of house down the street from his childhood home on Grand Avenue on June 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. The funeral procession for Ali will be traveling over 20 miles on a designated route throughout Louisville. The four-time world heavyweight boxing champion died on June 3 at age 74. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
Brandon Liggons, 2, (L) holds an image of Muhammad Ali during the funeral procession for the three-time heavyweight boxing champion in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., June 10, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
LOUISVILLE, KY - JUNE 10: People stand in front of Muhammad Ali's childhood home on Grand Avenue on June 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. The funeral procession for Ali will be traveling over 20 miles on a designated route throughout Louisville. The four-time world heavyweight boxing champion died on June 3 at age 74. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
Jerry Martin walks his horse, Rekoa, fashioned as a riderless horse, outside boxing legend Muhammad Ali's childhood home where mourners wait to pay their respects during a funeral procession on June 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. Thousands of people from near and far were expected to line the streets of Muhammad Ali's hometown Louisville on Friday to say goodbye to the boxing legend and civil rights hero, who mesmerized the world with his dazzling skills. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks down the street with a huge painting of boxing legend Muhammad Ali outside his childhood home where mourners wait to pay their respects to a funeral procession on June 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. Thousands of people from near and far were expected to line the streets of Muhammad Ali's hometown Louisville on Friday to say goodbye to the boxing legend and civil rights hero, who mesmerized the world with his dazzling skills. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
People sit in lawn chairs outside boxing legend Muhammad Ali's childhood home where mourners wait to pay their respects during a funeral procession on June 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. Thousands of people from near and far were expected to line the streets of Muhammad Ali's hometown Louisville on Friday to say goodbye to the boxing legend and civil rights hero, who mesmerized the world with his dazzling skills. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman places flower peddles along the entrance to Cave Hill Cemetery for the funeral procession for boxing legend Muhammad Ali on June 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. Ali will be laid to rest Friday, the culmination of a two-day farewell for the beloved boxing legend and civil rights hero who electrified crowds the world over. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Tymetrius Steward, 3, wears boxing gloves to honor Muhammad Ali as he awaits his funeral procession to make its way down Muhammad Ali Boulevard in Louisville, Ky. Friday, June 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Cathy Gutgsell, left, holds a sign as she is photographed while spectators wait for the arrival of Muhammad Ali's funeral procession to enter Cave Hill Cemetery, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Ali died last Friday at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Ubay Dullah Muhammad, front, and his son Eugene Muhammad wait to watch Muhammad Ali's funeral procession as a city bus passes by Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. The pair traveled from their home in Augusta, Ga., to pay their respects to Ali. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Spectators wait for the arrival of Muhammad Ali's funeral procession to enter Cave Hill Cemetery, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Ali died last Friday at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Akera Price-King, 9, carries a sign saluting Muhammad Ali on the street in front of Ali's boyhood home Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Ali's funeral procession is scheduled to pass by the house later in the day. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Roses rest along the entrance way to Cave Hill Cemetery as police stand guard before the arrival of Muhammad Ali's funeral procession, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Ali died last Friday at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Nick Smith, of Louisville, poses for a photograph holding a drawing of Muhammad Ali as spectators wait for the arrival of Ali's funeral procession to enter Cave Hill Cemetery, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Ali died last Friday at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Two men hold up placards reading 'Me, We', a quote by boxing legend Muhammad Ali as they wait outside his childhood home with other mourners to pay their respects during a funeral procession on June 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. Thousands of people from near and far were expected to line the streets of Muhammad Ali's hometown Louisville on Friday to say goodbye to the boxing legend and civil rights hero, who mesmerized the world with his dazzling skills. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
The coffin bearing the remains of Muhammad Ali is loaded into a hearse at the A D Porter & Sons funeral home during the funeral procession for the three-time heavyweight boxing champion in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., June 10, 2016. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The hearse carrying the remains of Muhammad Ali leaves the A D Porter & Sons funeral home during the funeral procession for the three-time heavyweight boxing champion in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., June 10, 2016. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Lena Worthington, 2, of Louisville, wears boxing gloves as spectators wait for the arrival of Muhammad Ali's funeral procession to enter Cave Hill Cemetery, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Ali died last Friday at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Spectators wait for the arrival of Muhammad Ali's funeral procession to enter Cave Hill Cemetery, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Ali died last Friday at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
People wait to view a procession for boxing legend Muhammad Ali pass on the way to Cave Hill Cemetery June 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. Thousands of people from near and far were expected to line the streets of Muhammad Ali's hometown Louisville on Friday to say goodbye to the boxing legend and civil rights hero, who mesmerized the world with his dazzling skills. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Crowds line the route of the procession led by the hearse carrying the body of Muhammad Ali in Louisville, Ky., on Friday, June 10, 2016. Ali died last Friday at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. (AP Photo/Dylan T. Lovan)
Thirteen-year-old Malik Parker shadow boxes outside boxing legend Muhammad Ali's childhood home where mourners wait to pay their respects during a funeral procession on June 10, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. Thousands of people from near and far were expected to line the streets of Muhammad Ali's hometown Louisville on Friday to say goodbye to the boxing legend and civil rights hero, who mesmerized the world with his dazzling skills. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Crowds line the route of the procession led by the hearse carrying the body of Muhammad Ali, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
A mourner holds a sign as the funeral procession for Muhammad Ali makes its way down Muhammad Ali Boulevard in Louisville, Ky. Friday, June 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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Lerner said that what made Ali a hero was his courage to stand up to the "immoral" war in Vietnam by proclaiming himself a conscientious objector. Lerner was an anti-war activist along with Ali, who refused to serve in the US army and was immediately stripped of his heavyweight title in 1967.

"Knowing he would lose his title, knowing he would face the racism of American society that would be heaped upon him for saying no to the crazy war in Vietnam," Ali said no to the war, Lerner said.

"He spoke truth to power — we must speak truth to power," he added.

Twitter users were quick to react to Lerner's speech. Some commented that it was overly politicized, but the vast majority were positive, thanking Lerner for expressing solidarity with the Muslim community:

Lerner's eulogy, and the entire memorial service, had a strong interfaith message:

To honor Ali, he said:

Tell the leaders of Turkey to stop bombing and murdering their Kurd minority. Tell the US to stop sending military supplies to Saudi Arabia, which is the sponsor of some of the most hate-filled teachings in the Islamic world and is one of the most repressive regimes on the face of the earth.

He ended by affirming his "commitment to the well-being of all Muslims on this planet, as well as all people of all faiths and secular humanists."

Said Lerner:

We Jews, as well as our non-Jewish allies in all religions and secular humanists, wish to pay honor to the Muslims of the world as they continue today the fast of Ramadan, and join with them in mourning the loss and celebrating the life of Muhammad Ali, a great fighter for justice and peace.

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