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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > US presidents and State Department help Muhammed Ali Center and Institute promote radical Islam under the guise of "peace and justice"

US presidents and State Department help Muhammed Ali Center and Institute promote radical Islam under the guise of "peace and justice"

Politicans and celebrities fund center for promoting radical Islam run by handlers of ex member of black supremicist Nation of Islam
November 29, 2005

MIM:Chumps for the Champ:

The media circus around Ali's award and the recent opening of his new center was characterised by hyperbolic praise and only mentioned his association with the violent anti white-anti semitic black supremicist Nation of Islam by stating; "Ali, once a fiery Nation of Islam member, is now a voice for interfaith cooperation". The article described the new Ali Center, as "having a spiritual room where visitors can recline on sleek black leather chairs listening to the champ's spiritual philosophy". http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/living/13241376.htm

Listening to the champ talk about his spiritual philosophy which evolved from the virulently anti American,anti white, and anti semitic Nation of Islam must be interesting in light of a bio film shown at the center opening which revealed Ali "In his prime talking smack and fighting ...in the ring".

It should also be noted that the Ali Institute for Peace and Justice (which works with on on the University of Louisville campus and is connected to the new Ali Center), includes links to the ADC and CAIR on their website, and that Ali is a board member of the ADC. (The Arab American Anti Discrimination Committee). The Ali Institute at the University of Louisville recently hosted the notorious Al Rowwad theatre group, whose 'children's theatre' features keffiyah clad Arabs hurling rocks and using slingshots against Israeli soldiers. (see video and pictures below)http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4073.shtml

In 2004 the Ali Center at the University of Louisville was funded by the State Department to promote a program entitled: Islamic Life in the United States:
The program brought 15 'Muslim leaders' to the US to"enhance participants understanding of the place of Islam in American Society and Culture" . http://www.alicenter.org/heart/islamic_life.shtml

The opening of the newest Ali Center was described by one journalist:

"It's hard to imagine a more triumphant return home than Ali had last week. Days after being awarded this country's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Bush in Washington, D.C., some of the most famous people in the world, almost none of them athletes, turned up here to serenade Ali's life and times, and the ways he changed the world..."

MIM: Among those helping to whitewash Ali's evil legacy by lauding Ali and the new centers was Bryan Gumbel who:

" lauded Ali for his stance against the Vietnam War. The boxer was stripped of his heavyweight title for refusing to serve in the military during the war. Gumbel said "it took bravery to get into the ring and risk his pretty face; it took real guts to step out of the ring and risk everything."

For his part veteran broadcaster Sir David Frost gushed"...Some people are overwhelmed by their dreams, but Ali's dreams made him bolder and stronger and fearless".... "His strength and his tenacity as a fighter captured the world's attention, but it was his insistence on his own value that made him a hero."

MIM: Intellectual lightweight Angelina Jolie, politican wannabe, reportedly made a "massive donation of an artistic nature to the Ali center".

Former President Clinton outdid Bush in "fawning,giddyness" when he proclaimed at the Center's opening that "the world is a better place because of you".You thrilled us as a fighter and you inspired us even more as a force for peace and reconciliation, understanding and respect. No one was ever more beautiful or brash or bright or powerful or fast in the ring. It was breathtaking."

Clinton's praise was one of many example of how -' it takes one to know one'. More insidiously, it shows how 'chumps for the champ' which include the present and past presidents of the United States are helping Ali and his handlers perpetrate a radical Islamist agenda under the guise of "peace and reconciliation".


MIM:The Ali Institute promotes radical Islam and has links to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the ADC(The Arab American Anti Discrimination Committee) of which Ali is a board member. CAIR's enhancement of the understanding of Islam is a euphemism for Da'wa (proselytizing), and encouraging dialouge means intimidating the public into acommodating Muslims and Islamic practices into American institutions. The term "empower American Muslims" is a euphemism for CAIR's legal services which encourage shakedowns of companies under the guise of discrimination lawsuits ,and 'building coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding' is seen in the inclusion of a link to CAIR on the Ali Institute 'Partner's website' and means exploiting every possible avenue to further radical Islam..

  • CAIR's mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

MIM: Ali is also on the board of the ADC which describes itself as a "grassroots civil rights organisation" .In reality the ADC is funded by Saudi Prince Alwaheed Bin Talal who held fundraising marathons for families of suicide bombers and whos 10 million dollar check to a 9/11 fund was rejected by mayor Rudolph Giuliani because the Bin Talal blamed the attacks on 'the Middle East conflict'. According to It's website:

"...ADC is a grassroots civil rights organization which welcomes people of all backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities as members.

MIM: The real views of the ADC were expressed by Hassoun Mahmood, the chairman of the media committee of their New Jersey chapter, who blamed terror attacks in Madrid,.London Turkey and Egypt on American foreign policy.

"...The deadly criminal rash of terrorism in Madrid, London, Turkey and Egypt is mainly the result of the misadventure of the neo-conservatives who exploited President Bush's inexperience in foreign policy and persuaded him to invade Iraq to achieve their own agenda in the Middle East.." http://www.adcnj.us/Letters_to_the_editor/Hassan08-08-2005-HomeNewsTribune.htm

MIM: According to their website:

The ADC was founded in Washington, DC by U.S. Senator Jim Abourezk in 1980 Advisory Board members include: Muhammad Ali, Her Majesty Queen Noor, several U.S. Congressmen, Edward Said & Casey Kasem among others ADC has members in all 50 states - and it is the largest Arab American organization of its kind.." http://www.adc.org/index.php?id=1482

MIM: More proof of the radical Islamist nature of the Muhammed Ali Foundation can be seen in the case of it's former director, Antoin Reczko (who is presently being investigated for financial wrongdoing in Chicago), which involved awarded contracts to the son of he NOI founder Elijah Mohammed. It is worth noting how the ADC and NOI appear to have intersecting paths when it comes to the activities of people involved with the Ali Foundation and Center .

. According to a recent article entitled: Arabs in Chicago discover political clout and controversy":

"...Rezko has a long history of supporting Arab American causes. He made a significant donation to help establish the Ibn Rushd Lectureship in Arabic in 2002 at the University of Chicago. Rezko served as a former Executive Director to the Muhammad Ali Foundation. And, he was named "Entrepreneur of the Decade" by the Arab-American Business and Professional Association. The president and founder of ABPA is a generous and successful Chicago Arab American businessman and political adviser, Talat Othman..."

Rezko also became an adviser to former Gov. George Ryan, who was later indicted on unrelated government corruption charges, and to Blagojevich. Rezko was introduced to state politics and Ryan's predecessor, Jim Edgar, by Talat Othman, a longtime fundraiser for state and city government officials. Edgar is now an associate of the PR firm Rezko hired to represent him.

Rezko raised more than $500,000 for Blagojevich.

Under Blagojevich, Rezko's role changed expanding from fundraising to helping to name individuals to head key state offices and commissions including several Rezko colleagues.

But controversy soon erupted.

In 1997, Panda Express won the right to open a lucrative concession at O'Hare International Airport under the city's Minority Set-Aside program which directs large contracts to companies owned by Women, African Americans or Hispanics.

The city awarded a 10-year contract for O'Hare Airport to Crucial Inc. in 1999, which the city believed was owned by an African American, Jabir Herbert Muhammad, the son of the late Elijah Mohammad.

Crucial Inc.'s annual revenues skyrocketed from under $200,000 in each year before opening at O'Hare, to nearly $6 million in 2002, according to recently published reports. Crucial Inc. has earned nearly $16 million in its first four years at the airport.

Last March, Chicago officials charged that Jabir Herbert Muhammad had acted as a front for the real owner, Rezko, who is of Syrian Arab heritage and does not qualify for minority set-asides.


MIM: The Ali Institute at the University of Louisville hosted what was billed as " The Al Rowwad Children's Theatre Company", in reality the theatre is a cynical exercise in Israel bashing and glorifies violence against Israelis. The Jihadist website electronic intifada devoted an entire page to Al Rowwad and highlighted there visit to Louisville, Kentucky courtesy of the Ali Institute and the University.

Video: Al-Rowwad theatre group visits Louisville, KY
Multimedia Presentation, The Electronic Intifada, 11 August 2005


Al-Rowwad Center is an Independent Center for artistic, cultural, and theatre training for children in Aida Camp trying to provide a "safe" and healthy environment to help children discover their creativity and discharge stress in the war conditions they are forced to live in. In July 2005, Al-Rowwad's theatre group performed in Louisville, Kentucky. Multimedia producers Patrick Yen and Andrew Sturgill produced the profile on Al-Rowwad for EI.



    MIM: The inclusion of a a children's theatre troupe which celebrates youths attacking Israelis (and is touted by the website electronic intifada,) is more proof, if any is needed, of the sham between the Ali Institute's stated mission of peace and non violence and the reality of their radical Islamist message. Note how the poster above the picture carries the warm fuzzy message of for Louisville and Palestine to "give peace a chance".


    "...Our mission

    The Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice advances the work, study, and practice of peacemaking, social justice, and violence prevention through the development of innovative educational programs, training, service, and research. Through the skills, knowledge and experiences we provide, we transform communities by empowering people...."



    The Vision

    Drawing strength from the vision and work of Muhammad Ali, the Ali Institute develops initiatives that support human dignity, foster responsible citizenship, further peace and justice, and address the impact of violence in local, state, national and international areas. The Ali Institute has a special concern for young people living with violence in urban areas; therefore, we seek to equip the young and those working with them to be agents of peace and justice in their communities.

    Because the Ali Institute recognizes that peace cannot exist in the absence of justice, we strive, through our work and energy, to be an essential contributor to the cause of justice here locally and around the world.

    Whether it is school children in the inner city of Louisville, farmers in rural Central America, teachers in a European capital, or human rights workers in Africa, the Muhammad Ali Institute offers pertinent training, research, and hands-on assistance in support of their interest in creating lasting and effective strategies for peace.


    Al-Rowwad Theatre Visit - Thursday, July 7

    The Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice is proud to welcome the Al-Rowwad Children's Theatre Company to the University of Louisville on Thursday July 7, 2005. The Al-Rowwad Children's Theatre, established in 1998 by Abdel Fattah Abu-Srour, is a nonprofit, independent organization for artistic and theatrical training for children in and around Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, Palestine. Since 2000, the Al-Rowwad children have performed around the world for audiences young and old to engender peace and understanding.

    The children will attend a special showing at the Rauch Planetarium, have lunch at the Red Barn, receive a special welcome by UofL students and staff and take a short walking tour of campus. They will come back to campus that evening for a performance of their play, "We Are the Children of the Camp" at the Thrust Theatre at 7:30 pm. For ticket information Pat Geier at 456-6586

  • -------------------------------------------------------------------------

  • http://www.alicenter.org/heart/islamic_life.shtml

    Muhammad Ali Center
    Participates in U.S. Department of State Grant


    Louisville, KY (April 12, 2004) The Muhammad Ali Center is priviliged to collaborate in a mutually beneficial program with the University of Louisville that promotes mutual understanding among cultures. Fifteen Muslim religious scholars, teachers and preachers from South Asia are visiting Louisville and other cities as part of a $343,785 U.S. Department of State grant awarded by the College of Arts and Sciences, University of Louisville, in December 2002. The program is entitled "Islamic Life in the United States."

    The University of Louisville was the only university in the nation to receive the State Department grant under a program that was developed after the September 11, 2001 attacks carried out by terrorists of Arab/Muslim origin. The State Department was so impressed by the proposal submitted by the College of Arts and Sciences that it changed its original plans, according to Dr. Thomas Johnston, Senior Exchange Specialist at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the State Department.

    Even though the original plan was to distribute smaller grants to more schools, the proposal submitted by the College of Arts and Sciences was so compelling that the State Department allocated all of the funding to one university. According to Dr. Johnston, "It was an extraordinarily good proposal that clearly understood what we were looking for."

    "Islamic Life in the United States" has two Phases, each with two parts. In the first part of Phase I, South Asian Muslim religious scholars, teachers and preachers are visiting the U.S. and in the second part of Phase I some American scholars will visit South Asia. Phase II would be a repeat of Phase I.

    At the start of Phase I of the program, Dr. Riffat Hassan, Director of "Islamic Life in the U.S." visited Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, to meet with the concerned cultural specialists of the U.S. embassies/consulates/post in the selected countries. In consultation with them and other experts, Dr. Riffat Hassan identified a number of scholars, teachers and preachers from the selected countries to visit the United States in Spring 2004 for a month long, intensive program.

    The program is designed to make the visitors aware of how Islamic Studies is taught in the U.S. and how diverse Muslim communities live in the context of the multi-cultural environment of this country. While "Islamic Life in the United States" program proposes to give the visitors an opportunity to meet and interact with a variety of Americans in public settings as well as in their homes, it also aims at giving Americans a better understanding of mainstream Islam and Muslims.

    The expected outcome of the program is to enhance participants' understanding about the place of Islam in U.S. society and culture. It is also expected to increase their awareness of, and appreciation for, the serious study of Islam that is conducted in the United States. Furthermore, it is expected to provide a forum for serious discussion about such issues as the compatibility of Islam and democratic structures, and the social vitality that grows from mutually respectful co-existence among diverse religious communities in the U.S. and in the world.

    For two and a half weeks the visitors are meeting and interacting with faculty, student and staff of the University of Louisville and other institutions in the Kentuckia area. They are participating in a number of academic, interfaith and cultural programs and events. They are also attending social events arranged by local Muslim and other communities.

    The visitors are traveling to other cities and locations including Cincinnati (April 6), Frankfort, Kentucky (April 7), Southern California (April 10-15), Chicago (April 21-23), Indianapolis (April 23), and Washington D.C. (April 24-27).

    Dr. Riffat Hassan, Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at the University of Louisville, who is an internationally-known scholar of Islam, is the Director of the "Islamic Life in the U.S." program. Dr. Thomas Byers, Professor of English and Director of the Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society in which the "Islamic Life in the U.S" grant is housed, will assist with this program.

    Guest speakers from other cities will be making presentations at the University of Louisville or participating in interfaith dialogues sponsored by our community partners. The Muhammad Ali Center is particularly grateful to sponsor events that enhance the visitors' experience in order to embellish their learning experience and to offer exchange opportunities for Americans. Among the events sponsored by the Ali Center are:

    ♣ A videoconference in conjunction with Jefferson County Public Schools entitled, Understanding Cultural Differences: A Dialogue Between Islamic Scholars and U.S. Students. The program originated from Louisville's Central High School, and included eight other interactive sites: Ballard, Pendleton County, Waggener, Campbell County High Schools and Winburn Middle School (in Kentucky); and Scottsburg, North Harrison, and Austin High Schools (in Indiana).
    ♣ Schools from the Louisville Metro area and surrounding counties in Indiana and Kentucky were recent guests of the Muhammad Ali Center and the Kentucky Center at the student matinee performance of Brown Butterfly at the Brown Theatre. As an added treat, Islamic scholars spoke to students on teenage life in their countries and the experiences they've had in the United States.
    ♣ The Muhammad Ali Center in conjunction with the Universtiy of Louisville will be hosting a roundtable discussion on the Bellarmine campus between Islamic and American Islamic scholars. Observing and participating in the open discussion will be Muhammad Ali Center staff, representatives from Bellarmine University's staff and students, selected high school students from the metro Louisville area, and invited guest and friends. Virginia Gray Henry, Director of Fons Vitae Publishing and Distribution, along with Dr. Riffat Hassan from the University of Louisville will also participate.

    Other partners of this grant include Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish Americans. Topical areas of learning include ongoing research on Islam at universities and Islamic Research Centers; culture, daily life, social and political issues, and other aspects of U.S. Islamic communities; interfaith dialogues; interactions of Muslim Americans with U.S. democratic structures, including electoral politics and representative government; freedoms of speech, the press, and religion; academic freedom and faculty governance. Short-and-long-term results will include enhanced mutual understanding; scholarly relationships and projects including potential collaboration among U.S. and foreign Muslim scholars; establishment of ongoing relationships between foreign Muslim intellectuals and U.S. scholars and citizens, and between foreign Muslim and U.S. institutions such as universities, Islamic Centers, and interfaith groups; further citizen exchanges; and distance learning projects.

    The names of the visiting Muslim scholars, teachers and preachers, and their countries of origin are as follows:
    Afghanistan : Mr. Abdul Rauf, Mr. Hayatullah, Mr. Momin Shah;
    Bangladesh : Professor Dr. A. N.M. Wahidur Rahman, Professor Dr. Azizun Nahar Islam, Professor Dr. Kazi Nur ul Islam;
    India: Professor Dr. Rukhsana Nikhat Lari, Dr. Shehnaz Shaikh, Dr. Syed Zafar Mahmood, Mr. Zaheer Abbas Rizvi; and
    Pakistan : Ms. Farhat Naz Rahman, Mr. Hanif Jallandhari, Professor Sharif Al-Mujahid and Syed Muhammad Zakir Hussain Shah.

    The four women in the group are Dr. Azizun Nahar Islam, Dr. Rukhsana Nikhat Lari, Dr. Shehnaz Shaikh and Ms. Farhat Naz Rahman.

    Read more at the Courier-Journal's website

    Click here for more pictures





    Muhammad Ali v. George W. Bush

    by Daniel Pipes
    New York Sun
    November 29, 2005

    George W. Bush honored the boxer, Muhammad Ali, and 13 others with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, called "the nation's highest civilian award," on November 9 at the White House. The president praised Ali for his sports accomplishments and called him "The Greatest of All Time."

    Fine, but he then proceeded to laud Ali's character: "The real mystery, I guess, is how he stayed so pretty. It probably had to do with his beautiful soul. He was a fierce fighter and he's a man of peace. … Across the world, billions of people know Muhammad Ali as a brave, compassionate, and charming man, and the American people are proud to call Muhammad Ali one of our own."

    In this giddy, fawning statement, Mr. Bush did not, the Washington Post astringently noted, "mention Ali's very public opposition to the Vietnam War, which led the prizefighter to lose his boxing license for three years when he refused to serve in the Army." Worse, his refusal to fight was not because he was "a man of peace" but rather because his allegiance was to the stridently anti-American, anti-white organization known as the Nation of Islam, headed by the malign Elijah Muhammad.

    Forty years ago, Ali explained his draft evasion: "War is against the teachings of the Holy Koran. I'm not trying to dodge the draft. We are supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger [i.e., Elijah Muhammad]. We don't take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers." A draft evader, incidentally, is particularly ill-suited to receive the Medal of Freedom, which was created in 1945 to recognize "notable service" in World War II.

    The president also did not touch on Ali's religious side, but Mark Kram did in his 2001 book, Ghosts of Manila: The Fateful Blood Feud between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier: "Ali broke every tenet of real Muslim law, from whoring to being truant at Temple service; he was a religious fake who abdicated his personal worth to the Black Muslims for their expediency and draft evasion, [and was] therefore, counterfeit down to his socks."

    As he aged, Ali did become more devout, but in unfortunate directions. He declared himself against "the entire power structure" in America, which he declared was run by Zionists who "are really against the Islam religion." He became so radical a Muslim that the notorious Council on American-Islamic Relations, North America's most powerful Islamist group, also honored him with an award in June 2004. As its press release stated: "Ilyasah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, presented the first Malcolm X award to Muhammad Ali."

    (Ali was spectacularly ill-suited for this award too. Malcolm X had served as his role model until 1964, but when Elijah Muhammad ejected Malcolm X from the Nation of Islam, Ali ignored Malcolm X's entreaties and turned viciously against him. He threw Malcolm X away, in the words of journalist Sunni Khalid, "like a pork chop.")

    Mr. Bush's praise for Ali's compassion, charm, and beautiful soul are horribly misplaced (as were large donations from General Electric and Ford to the hagiographic "Ali Center" that opened days later in Louisville, Ky.). Ali's unvarnished legacy is an exploitative personality, sordid career, vicious politics, and extremist religion.

    Mr. Bush himself got an unexpected glimpse of the real Ali during their brief White House encounter. I'll let the Washington Post describe the incident:

    Bush, who appeared almost playful, fastened the heavy medal around Muhammad Ali's neck and whispered something in the heavyweight champion's ear. Then, as if to say "bring it on," the president put up his dukes in a mock challenge.

    Ali, 63, who has Parkinson's disease and moves slowly, looked the president in the eye—and, finger to head, did the "crazy" twirl for a couple of seconds. The room of about 200, including Cabinet secretaries, tittered with laughter. Ali, who was then escorted back to his chair, made the twirl again while sitting down.

    And the president looked visibly taken aback, laughing nervously. Was Ali making a political statement?

    Awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Muhammad Ali gratuitously celebrated a man profoundly opposed to Mr. Bush's own, his party's, and the country's principles. It represents, I submit, the nadir of his presidency.

    From www.danielpipes.org |

    Original article available at: www.danielpipes.org/article/3153

    By Michael Wilbon

    MIM: Another chump for the champ was a sportswriter who called Ali "a sporting icon" and called him "probably the most internationllay famous man in America has produced in a great while, and the times that fashioned him and us"

    Wilbon's comment inadvertently vindicates Dr.Pipe's contention that giving the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Ali was "The nadir of his presidency".

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- I gave thanks for Muhammad Ali on Thursday, not just for him actually, but for the shrine of a center named after him that opened here this week and for the formal celebration of a courageous life once widely reviled. I gave thanks that Ali appeared the other night to be in better health than was recently reported, that despite the shaking brought on by Parkinson's syndrome he was capable of receiving two U.S. presidents within a week, capable of walking the 24,000 square feet of exhibits and displays that put into context not just a sporting icon but probably the most internationally famous man America has produced in a great while, and the times that fashioned him and us.

    It's hard to imagine a more triumphant return home than Ali had last week. Days after being awarded this country's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Bush in Washington, D.C., some of the most famous people in the world, almost none of them athletes, turned up here to serenade Ali's life and times, and the ways he changed the world.

    The group included singers Kris Kristofferson, James Taylor, Darius Rucker and Kathleen Battle; actress Angelina Jolie, who made a fairly massive donation of an artistic nature to the Ali Center; and former President Clinton, who said to Ali at the end of the black-tie gala that glittered like nothing Louisville had ever seen, "The world is a better place because of you. You thrilled us as a fighter and you inspired us even more as a force for peace and reconciliation, understanding and respect. No one was ever more beautiful or brash or bright or powerful or fast in the ring. It was breathtaking."

    And of course, the totality of it is why we've been fascinated with Cassius Marcellus Clay and then Muhammad Ali for more than 40 years now. It's why folks who initially loathed Ali and would have given anything to see him get whupped, as comedian Jim Carrey admitted while introducing Ali, came to almost universally respect and then adore him over time. And it's why people will flock to the Ali Center, a big chunk of history housed in a futuristic building of six stories that has a section meant to look like the Olympic torch Ali carried to open the 1996 Olympics.

    Only Ali, in all his supreme confidence, would have a museum with exhibits critical of him. Don't get me wrong, the overall tone of the center is pretty fawning, as one would expect. But in the "Respect" exhibit, a film takes Ali to task for his womanizing, for behavior most reasonable folks agree was sexist and bigoted. (You think Barry Bonds, for example, would sign off on a detailed criticism of his alleged steroid use?)

    There's an exhibit that deals with Ali's conversion to Islam, his name change from Clay to Ali in 1964. The center shies away from nothing, really, which is considerable given Ali's willingness to mix it up. The room that celebrates Ali's most famous fights includes the historic loss to Joe Frazier.

    There are consoles where you can view every Ali fight, any fight. But there is also a room devoted to his poetry and predictions, much of it oft-repeated but much of it also pointed and at the time offensive to people on the wrong end of Ali's youthful and sometimes nasty wit.

    There are the photographic offerings of Ali's best friend Howard Bingham, which collectively ought to visit the nation's most prominent portrait gallery. And there are dozens of offerings from the iconic artist Leroy Neiman, who in his unique ways captured so much more than the big fights we see so frequently.

    There's an area designed to look like the Deer Lake, Pa.. site where Ali trained for years and years.

    There are panoramas, projections, educational showcases, boxing rings and interactive displays. One section of the roof is made to look like little butterflies ("Float Like a butterfly, sting like a bee ... aaaaah! Rumble young man rumble ... aaaaah!). There's a collage by children from 141 countries. In fact, when the building is finished in the coming months there will be more resources dedicated to child development, which in and of itself speaks to Ali's staying power, since nobody under 30 could possibly remember him as a boxer.

    Who else has this in America?

    The stated hope is that the theaters and meeting rooms in the center will be places where leaders and plain folk will attend seminars that deal with peaceful solutions and conflict resolution. It's ambitious, to say the least. But that's what we've come, over time, to expect from Ali. Ali's wife, Lonnie, talked about the center being, "a living, breathing center to share his ideals, to teach and inspire."

    The center will have to do Ali's talking now. The thing that struck me most, from watching a young Ali spar verbally with Howard Cosell or any number of fighters, is how much I miss Ali's voice. If you're of a certain age, say, 46 or older, and have a memory that goes all the way back to the first Sonny Liston fight, you presumed that voice would live with you always. At 63, Ali looked surprisingly slender the other night. When he was noticeably active and animated on stage, swinging and swaying with an oversized "torch" at the end of the gala, Lonnie tried unsuccessfully to get her husband to cool it, to take it easy. Of course, he wasn't heeding her advice. But the point is, given the Parkinson's syndrome, we don't know how many more glimpses we're going to have of the man.

    What I wouldn't have given to hear one more riff from Ali, just one good, long paragraph on any topic he pleased. Angelo Dundee, who was in Ali's corner as his trainer the entire run, reminded me to stop fretting because, "He gets more out of a blink than others from a whole recitation."

    President Clinton noted Ali has been there all Clinton's life and that got an 'amen' from everybody of a certain age. More than any politician, more than any statesman or athlete or entertainer, Ali has been there, in noise or silence, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. And what's become even more evident than ever over the last past month, as Ali has been honored by three presidents (Jimmy Carter videotaped a tribute) and some of the most famous people on the planet, is that nobody, regardless of stature, wants to let go of Ali. And with this center bringing us 360 degrees of Ali, mortality aside, we might not have to.

    Wilbon is a sports columnist for the Washington Post.


    • MIM: Islamic Relief could be one of the NGO's mentioned as participating with Partners in Humanity at the Jordan conference . PIH was founded by Prince Hassen Bin Al Talal. which states that its mission is "to improve cooperation between the US and the Muslim world".

  • PIC works together with the 'Search for Common Ground'. They will soon be honoring Mohammed Ali as a Washington DC dinner.


    Thursday, March 17th 2005
    6:30pm cocktail reception
    7:30pm awards programme

    Embassy of Austria
    3524 International Court, NW
    Washington, DC

    By Mandy Patinkin

    Muhammad Ali
    Common Ground Lifetime Achievement Award
    He has been cited as a "United Nations Messenger of Peace," and has been called "Mr. International Friendship" by former President Carter. In schools across America he has taught children the virtues of tolerance and understanding through his book "Healing". The new Muhammad Ali Center will appeal to the heart, spirit and imagination in areas of personal growth and commitment, integrity and respect for others.

    Recently in Amman, Jordan, a three-day conference took place aimed at finding ways to improve understanding and cooperation between the United States and the Muslim world. The meeting was organized in partnership with His Royal Highness Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan and the American-Belgian non-governmental organization Search for Common Ground.

    Together, they convened representatives of civil society, clergy, academics, human rights activists, officials of relief and development agencies (including Catholic Relief Services) and media leaders – all catalysts and facilitators of Islamic-Western dialogue – and launched a project called Partners in Humanity to build bridges between the Muslim world and the United States.

    Discussions focused on how to promote dialogue between Muslims and the West through various channels in order to obtain mutual respect and understanding. During his opening speech, Prince Hassan set the tone for the meeting, saying, "We must become forceful about the idea of peacefulness. We must promote moderation in an era of extremism and intolerance."

    Prince Hassan stressed that, "Cross-cultural dialogue provides a bridge that enables people of different backgrounds to live together," and explained that the ultimate goal of the partnership is to, "Seek to bring about more broadly Islamic-American cooperation based on mutual respect and guided by a sense of shared humanity." http://www.interaction.org/library/detail.php?id=2144

    July 26-29, 2003 - Partners in Humanity Working Meeting in Amman, Jordan. Sixty leaders of NGOs, government agencies and international organizations - all catalysts and facilitators of Islamic-Western dialogue - convened for three days in Amman develop an action plan to improve understanding and cooperation between the West and the Muslim world. The meeting was held under the auspices of a unique partnership formed by His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal and Search for Common Ground and was funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York

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