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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Friday's Connector of the Day - Khaliah Ali

November 12th, 2009
10:56 PM ET

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can't hit what his eyes can't see. Now you see me, now you don't. George thinks he will, but i know he won't.” Muhammad Ali

He proclaimed himself the greatest... With a record of 56 victories and only 5 defeats – for many he is...

The retired heavyweight champion boxer is well known for his historic fight, the "Rumble in the Jungle," against opponent George Foreman, in 1974.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/12/art.ali.jpg caption="Muhammad Ali's daughter Khaliah is keeping her father's spirit alive in the Congo."]

It has been 35 years since Ali won the legendary championship bout in what is now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The lasting implications of that fight went well beyond the heavyweight belt that was contested that evening. Much was made of the attention that Ali brought to the Congolese people who were fighting for their own physical survival as a newly independent nation. The relationship and bonds that Ali formed with the Congolese are still strong today.

Khaliah Ali, was a young child when her father first visited the former Zaire - he dedicated the "Rumble in the Jungle" fight to her. Now 35, she recently returned to the Congo on a humanitarian mission with UNICEF to engage in a fight of her own.

In a nation inflicted by civil war where thousands of children have gone hungry and where women are raped, Khaliah addressed the issue of child malnourishment and the importance of educating the female half of the nation’s population.

Khaliah Ali will be our Connector of the Day this Friday, and will discuss her relationship with her father and her recent trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the problems that its people are fighting for.

Send your questions for Khaliah Ali here

soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Yves Mutombo

    Thank you Khaliah! May God bless you and all those in your care.

    November 13, 2009 at 12:22 am | Reply
  2. Ellis Ajoku

    I praise your social activism and efforts at bringing to light the plight of the people of the Congo Democratic Republic and in particular your work with international fashion model and humanitarian, Noella Coursaris Musunka. Do you at anytime in the nearest future, have plans of carrying activities like this for other war-torn and impoverished nations, especially in Africa?

    Writing in from Owerri in Nigeria.

    November 13, 2009 at 12:37 am | Reply
  3. Patrick

    When your Dad changed his name and stood up for his rights and the rights of others, he became my hero when I was in my mid teens. He was someone I really admired, looked up to and learned from.... as well as enjoyed his anticts. He made people laugh.

    He is still my hero.

    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

    November 13, 2009 at 1:17 am | Reply
  4. mike sedillo

    It's remarkable the work you r doing to assist the people and children of congo.I myself have assisted in such with many of our own in america.I was a professional for 20 straight years and as a boxer you meet many families in need in our own country (usa).I myself have assisted in many. With 87 professional fights and 144 amatuer bouts i lost count of the many families that i personaly assisted. I feel blessed that families do not forget these things.A;lso that i had the previledge to fight the first professional bout in communist china and the guest of honor was your father muhammad ali and of course step mom donna who i assisted from the start in los angeles.Now signing off from alaska former 3-time champion.

    November 13, 2009 at 1:27 am | Reply
  5. fred

    I am 60 years old, so I know and appreciate what Ali did for the world and fight game. My question is this; A lot of attention is focused on his politics and his fight with the American government (rightly so) but why is there such limited coverage of his career after he won the title from Sonny Liston? I mean he gave Sonny a rematch and then started with the number one contender and worked his way down to the number twelve contender. No other boxer has ever done that. When the government got involved Ali had already conquerored the boxing heavy weight world completely. Why no mention of this in all his memoirs. As a fight fan i feel truly honored to have been alive for this as Ali put all his fights on the radio and/or television. He was truly the peop[les champion and undisputed before he became a political icon whcih has overshadow his truly great boxing achievement.

    November 13, 2009 at 1:55 am | Reply
  6. Alan Mukhiaya

    This is a noble cause and a true daughter of a greatest boxer of all times. It is her legacy to carry on what her father wanted to accomplish. As a gesture of the same it was kind and sympthetic to do like wise.
    I wish her all the best in her endevour.
    Alan Mukhiaya

    November 13, 2009 at 3:22 am | Reply
  7. Peter


    As a child I remember collecting for Unicef. I also recall my second grade teacher worked as a Peace Corp volunteer in Ethopia ; I will NEVER forget the starvation and illness caused by the Ethopian droughts of that time and the pains that our teacher took to make us aware of how lucky we were to be born and live in America.

    So what are the biggest social problems currently facing the D.R of Congo and how can American school children assist Congolese school children to help solve some of their problems. Are there any "pen pal" programs that facilitate communication between the school children of our repsective countries.

    Good luck, this fight is one that must be fought and I'm rooting for team Ali !

    November 13, 2009 at 4:32 am | Reply
  8. Ahmad

    Assalam O Alaekum
    Ms Ali, I have been a fan of your father since I was a child & use to bunk the school to watch his fights.
    I do not know if you will answer my question or not, but still wanted to ask you a simple one: Being a Muslim lady why do you wear revealing clothes & shorts etc? May Allah give all of human kind to the straight path (Amen).

    November 13, 2009 at 6:01 am | Reply
  9. ed

    How can one become apart of your group and go to help in the congo?

    November 13, 2009 at 6:11 am | Reply


    November 13, 2009 at 6:12 am | Reply
  11. promise nukah

    i think as a woman, raising a loving family with your kid and husband should occupy some space in your heart rather much of fighting. however if you have the heart, kudos to your elbow

    November 13, 2009 at 6:13 am | Reply

    Do you practice islam?

    November 13, 2009 at 6:15 am | Reply
  13. Ghassan Marjeh

    Dear Khaliah,

    Dedicating the 'Rumble in the Jungle' to you indicates a great attachment our great Ali has towards you. I bet you must have the same feelings towards him. What is it that made you both so attached? is it the fact that he is the great Ali? or is it that he is so loving and affectionate? We are all proud of you and of our great legend.

    November 13, 2009 at 6:29 am | Reply
  14. WASEEM


    November 13, 2009 at 6:29 am | Reply
  15. nabil

    Your father converted to islam,do you consider yourself muslim,if yes how does it affect your life

    November 13, 2009 at 6:51 am | Reply
  16. Peya Hitula

    Dear Khaliah,

    Its great to hear you have taken up the fight on child health in DRC, one of the main problems the DRC has is very political and hence the need to place great emphasis on the leaders to exert more effort into ensuring that the mineral wealth of the country is used more wisely towards the needs of the young within the nation, sports development, better schools, sewage and so on. They will listen to you and they have the resources to create such impact!! Immediately.

    November 13, 2009 at 7:28 am | Reply
  17. Idarous

    Just expressing my solidarity with Khaliah in her mission. Our thoughts are with the suffering innocent people in Congo. God bless.

    November 13, 2009 at 7:38 am | Reply
  18. Mohammad Doofesh

    What important education are you preparing for the female?
    Are you Muslem like your father?

    November 13, 2009 at 7:55 am | Reply
  19. Sizwe

    Hi Khaliah, as an african i wish to take this opportunity to thank you in your selfless and humanitarian effort to help the unfortunate. May God Bless You. ALUTA CONTINUA!!!!!!!!

    November 13, 2009 at 8:31 am | Reply
  20. Nicholas

    Dear Khaliah.
    how dangerous it is to do a project in th DRC?

    November 13, 2009 at 9:04 am | Reply
  21. N.A.KHAN

    Please ignore the comments of your muslim fellows and do your best for the humanity which is above all religons, I am proud to be a liberal muslim and want you to be known as a good person no a muslim

    November 13, 2009 at 9:15 am | Reply
  22. awais rehman

    dear khaliah

    may b u r not aware of the quantum of respect we Pakistani have about the great Muslim boxer " Muhammad Ali"... although m young and thts y couldn't saw the fight of ur father live but still his movies and footage r available every where... he is a great legend... so taking his banner of respect with u, u r on ur way of a great mission... yep in Pakistan we know the meaning of hunger and drought, we know wht ppl think when someone comes to help us... so i wish u all the best and m sure tht u will earn lots of lots of "jaza-e-Khair" for ur noble mission of helping deprived ppl. Also, ur this move will paint a positive image of all muslims in the canvas of the world? which we Muslims r desperately needing now.... May Allah Subhan-o-Tallah bless u... Amen

    November 13, 2009 at 9:27 am | Reply
    • Henry

      Good morning BrendanI am wokinrg as a Supporting Actor with one payslip away from joining Equity. I am starting at the bottom but as soon as I get the card' I will be looking for small parts to start with. I know with SA its what is asked for but what annoys me is that after joining the Agency, how when I go on an assignment, people have not joined or signed a contract and paid to have photo's done and yet they get constant work and I have done this thinking I would not get work. Not only is it unfair, but puts me in a position where I feel if I complain, I will be putting myself in a bad position which is why I have not. I have read your book which is great and I noticed that I have already do the some of things you talk about naturally. Thank you for that xx I am not yet an Actor and have only gained the B-Tec National with 16 Distinctions, 8 Merits and one pass. I have not been in a position to take up the work until now some time after my B-tec. I joined a local theatre and was totally ingnored as they are a click' even after reading for every play, wokinrg as a lighting tech, painting sceans etc. I gave it my best and currently looking for another theatre to join. (Brush myself off and start again)! I live outside of London but was about to join an Agency there as well as where I live, but at this time, its the cost. The reason for this is how to get work on other projects like Downtown Abby etc. I know I have probably answered my own questions but it is good to talk. With kindest regardsThe old fossil

      April 29, 2013 at 11:05 am | Reply
  23. Julius

    Just to appreciate your efforts in DRC with particular emphasis to weman and children. You my consider encouraging leaders in this country and Africa in general to be patriotic in their thinking and application of leadership. Otherwise these problems will continue to be there.

    November 13, 2009 at 9:36 am | Reply
  24. Haider Bokhri

    I had a chance to meet The GREATEST in Louisville ... it was dream come true. Please keep spreading his message ... specialy to Muslim uma. We wish you all the best.

    November 13, 2009 at 9:51 am | Reply
  25. m.gary

    hello,are you muslim like your father?
    where do you live,

    November 13, 2009 at 11:28 am | Reply
  26. Syed

    Assalamoalaikum! How is Mr Ali's doing? Can you pass my regards to him please?

    November 13, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  27. elhasnaoui

    i grew up watching the glory time of muhammadi ali, his personality inspired me all my life. i want to say THANK YOU AGAIN MR ALI I hope i will have the opportunity to meet you. my respects to him and to his daughters lailah and Khaliyah

    November 13, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  28. Isa


    Are you a Muslim? If you are then why do you dress like that, and not wear hijab?

    November 13, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  29. Marty

    I had the pleasure of meeting your father one day at the airport in South Bend. I can still remember how anxious we were before he was to fight Foreman, after George had knocked out Joe Frazier in two rounds. Many people I know from around the world remember that night in Kinshasha. I have a friend from Tunisia who said his grandmother cried before the fight she was so nervous. Your father gave hope to many people around the globe. I´m sorry for going on, but my question is.
    If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would it be and what would you like to talk about?

    November 13, 2009 at 1:10 pm | Reply
  30. franck

    What do you think of all of the recent celebrity interest in African charity? Do you think it is genuine?

    November 13, 2009 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  31. Noel

    Hi Khaliah We're very sad for the childrens and woman in fight on health in DRC, one of the main problems the DRC has is very political and hence the need to place great emphasis on the leaders to exert more effort into ensuring that the mineral wealth of the country is used more wisely towards the needs of the young within the nation, sports development, better schools, sewage and so on. They will listen to you and they have the resources to create such impact!! Immediately we need changes in DRC. Wishes best for all success

    November 13, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  32. NZITANU François

    I'd like to know if KHALIAH is ready to invest in helping street children
    of Kinshasa. In France we have an association who's fithing to bring
    help to this kind of children of RDCongo without succeed.

    We need help.
    Our address : BOLAMU – Joie et Bonheur pour les enfants d'Afrique
    68, rue de Tolbiac
    75013 PARIS

    November 13, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  33. Robert Teh Kok Hua

    A boxer like ali, is what he is
    He cannot be more than he,
    Fly like a butterfly or sting like a bee,
    Is he born for the trophy or the noisy
    Or is he a role model for all to be,
    So do not be filled with all the envy,
    What has happened to Ali
    Whatever he wants to be
    Is he keen to bring peace,
    If Khalid has love for daddy,
    Let her tell ali as what he is,
    Let her do it yet again for daddy,

    November 13, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Reply
  34. l shurtz

    Your kindness to the people of Congo is wonderful. keep the good work up!

    November 13, 2009 at 3:00 pm | Reply
  35. Bryan Llanos

    Great to know about this humanitarian work. I knew your father on TV while watching all those great fights way back when I was in my twenties. Take my advice, its from the heart of experience. Give all that you do, in Africa and everywhere else, to God, and He will see to it that it works. The more you pray the more your life will bear fruit and one day you will be great, not for winning fights, but for bringing love to people.
    Bless you.

    November 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Reply
  36. Pavlos

    Not one to want notoriety, but through an Orthodox priest in Kenya, I found a young girl to send to high school and provide her with a small amount of necessities. Now, I am in the process of sending funds to her mother to help other young girls keep their dignity. Where there is a will there is a way.

    Great and Noble thing you are doing. I really do believe that other African-Americans can do more for our father lands in Africa–without going through a lot of administriva. Blessing and Health to you.

    November 13, 2009 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  37. JP Roszell

    Khaliah – I am certain you have long-term goals for your Congolese mission, but what specifically would make this particular trip a success in your eyes? And what can the rest of us in N America do to help?

    Good luck, and Godspeed.

    November 13, 2009 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  38. shahab

    Hello Khaliah

    Mohammad Ali is the BEST. Not only in boxing but every single person on planet earth he is a great hero. He truly showed the meaning of the famous quote that nothing is impossible. He showed us all that you can one of the kindest and helpful men while your the strongest. He is always in our heart and he will always be in our heart. Really happy to hear about what you doing and helping people of congo.May God's showering of Bless be upon Mohammad Ali and his family in particular you.Ameen

    Kind Regards
    Shahab from Iran.

    November 13, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  39. Ola

    Your father was kind-hearted and you have emulated him, he was my father's hero for boxing and other reasons. He became my hero at an early age and till today and possibly for the rest of my life he will remain my hero and i will always watch out for good news regarding his family, and of course, I will keep you all in my prayers. I love your dad with all my heart. I have a library of his fights and several books about him. Your dad will forever remain irreplaceable. I pray that he will be around for another 30 years. As for you, keep up caring just like your father. that to me is your family heritage. God will bless you and your family.

    November 13, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  40. Selo

    Hello Khaliah,

    Your Dad is our Hero and a Hero of everybody. Not only that, He is Handsome and every where he goes he remains a Hero. How can we portray you to this Legend called Ahmed Ali the Greatest?

    November 13, 2009 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  41. fatima

    thanks khaliah for your concern about the kids in Congo. May Allah guide you and reward you for that. I was just wondering are you a Muslim like your father. By the way we love your father very much and hold him dear in our heart.

    November 13, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Reply
  42. Abdel Nassani

    I was 10 years old when I witness the Rumble in the Jungle. I have prayed for him in the morning that day to win this fight. and he did
    Your Dad is my hero in so many ways, it is very hard for me to count it, and words can convay my feelings about him.
    god bless him and keep the good work like you Dad.

    November 13, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  43. Dianne and DJ Phillips

    I've been helping my grandson study Africa for school and one of the nations we have researched is DR of Congo. We would like to hear about what schooling are available for the kids. Also, we understand infant and child mortility is very high, do you think this issue is being addressed?

    November 13, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Reply
  44. Biodun

    Khalia is showing something that is sadly rare amongst people of African heritage in the diaspora – caring about mainlaind African people, who unfortunately are one of the poorest in the world.

    She is worth emulating – by several more people of means and heart.

    Well done Khalia! You've done your dad and all of us proud!!!

    November 13, 2009 at 9:23 pm | Reply
  45. SanjayR

    The model Khaliah was talking about is Noella Coursaris. Her school website is http://www.GMFAfrica.org
    Noella traveled with Khaliah on the trip and they went to the site where Noella is building her school.

    November 13, 2009 at 10:06 pm | Reply
  46. SanjayR

    Khaliah also asks people to check out the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Wildlife Warriors and the We are Family Foundation. She also visited UNICEF and World Food Programme projects.

    November 13, 2009 at 10:09 pm | Reply
  47. mohammed, ali


    I 's honored to talk with you and I 'd like to thank the admistration of CNN who make this possible.
    I hope we coould see you oneday in iraq.
    anyhow.. is not elusive... who knows.

    November 13, 2009 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  48. ray

    hows your dad and he is the greatest,hes the man.goodluck in africa. we can use your help in america too.

    November 14, 2009 at 12:55 am | Reply

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