“I’m a Muslim.” With those three words Mahershala Ali reminded America of the diverse fabrics woven through the Muslim community. Ali was born Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore in Oakland, CA. Mahershalalhashbaz is a biblical name, Hebrew for “Hurry to the spoils!” or “He has made haste to the plunder!” (Isaiah chapter 7-9).
Now known as Mahershala Ali, the actor paid homage to his Christian roots and his Muslim faith at Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. Ali accepted the SAG for his stellar performance in “Moonlight”. Ali spoke about the compassion of his character in “Moonlight” and the need for that compassion in Trump’s America.
“My mother is an ordained minister,” Ali said. “I’m a Muslim. She didn’t do backflips when I called her to tell her I converted 17 years ago. But I tell you now ― you put things to the side, and I’m able to see her and she’s able to see me. We love each other. The love has grown.”
Grab a box of tissues and watch Ali’s full speech here: