Oscar-Nominated Muslim Actor: Anti-Islam Prejudice ‘Not a Shock’ if You Have Grown Up Black

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SHAFAQNA- Oscar-nominated Muslim actor revealed additional discrimination he has faced since converting to Islam in 1999.

The actor Mahershala Ali, whose performance in the widely acclaimed Moonlight has made him a favorite for the best supporting actor Academy award, has spoken out about the discrimination he has experienced as an African American and a Muslim.

Ali said he found out that he was on an FBI watchlist after 9/11 and that, as a black man, anti-Islam prejudice “does not feel like a shock”.

Speaking to the Radio Times, he said: “If you convert to Islam after a couple of decades of being a black man in the US, the discrimination you receive as a Muslim doesn’t feel like a shock. I’ve been pulled over, asked where my gun is, had my car pulled apart. Muslims will feel like there’s this new discrimination that they hadn’t received before – but it’s not new for us.”

Ali, who was born Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore and whose mother, Willicia, was an ordained Christian minister, converted to Islam in 1999.

Having made his name in popular TV series such as The 4400, Treme and House of Cards (in which he played corporate lobbyist Remy Danton), Ali was cast in major roles in films such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Parts 1 and 2, Free State of Jones, and Hidden Figures.

For his role in Moonlight, Ali has received more than 25 best supporting actor awards, including the Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice – though he lost out at the Golden Globes to Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Nocturnal Animals and the Baftas to Dev Patel for Lion.

Source: The Guardian

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