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As the stars came out and shone for Haiti last night during George Clooney's Hope For Haiti Now telethon, it was boxing legend Muhammad Ali who spoke loudest about the need for charity in times of hardship.

Appearing on stage in a wheelchair and unable to speak, the former boxer – who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease – looked on as comedian Chris Rock read out a speech he prepared earlier.

“By any name, charity can bring the people of our planet together … charity changes lives and saves lives … we call upon all the good people in every corner of the world to help … please give now,” he said. “In my life I’ve been called by many names. There are many names for the charity of the people of the earth and one of them is Zakat.”

Hosted by Clooney, Wyclef Jean, Anderson Cooper and a number of A-List celebs, the show featured performances from Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Dave Matthews, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder and Taylor Swift in New York, as well as Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, Sting, Keith Urban, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow in Los Angeles. Coldplay, Bono, Jay-Z, The Edge and Rihanna performed from London.

“This is a tragedy that reaches across all borders, all boundaries and demands our attention, our help and our compassion as fellow human beings,” said George Clooney, who – along with Leonardo DiCaprio – donated $1 million to the cause. "At the core of every religion is the belief that we care for one another … we take care of each other, especially in times of need. The Haitian people need our help. They need to know that they’re not alone. They need to know that we still care.

“This is an opportunity to help a neighbor in desperate need and to do it with the swiftness, expertise, generosity and love that resides in the best of who we are.”

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