Mustafa Ali Talks Incident That Led To Him Dropping Heel Muslim Gimmick On The Indies

Mustafa Ali used his Islamic heritage to inform his heel gimmick when he competed on the independent circuit. However, the WWE Superstar has revealed that he put the character to rest because he didn't want to create real-life hostility toward Muslims.

"If I'm [playing] a bad guy, I want to be a bad guy because I'm a bad person. Not because I'm a Muslim... If I'm jealous it's just because I'm a jealous person," Ali explained during a recent appearance on "Mark Andrews: My Love Letter to Wrestling." The WWE Superstar went on to say that he's fine playing a heel, but he's against playing a negative Muslim stereotype as it can transcend wrestling and do more harm than good.

Ali also opened up about his time playing a Muslim heel in the independent scene, revealing that he agreed to do it to get out of a career rut. "I caved in and I did the character. I put the head garb on. I came out and cut these threatening promos about America. And what do you know? It worked." The character change ultimately led to Ali getting more bookings and interest from WWE, but he never felt comfortable portraying that gimmick.

The WWE Superstar ultimately stopped doing the gimmick when he realized he was sending out the wrong message. "I had a terrible fan experience where I feel like I taught a young kid to hate Muslims. Like I saw it in his eyes. I remember connecting eyes with him and going, 'Man... I see the way he's looking at me, and it's not haha I'm gonna boo you. It's like, aw you're evil."

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "Mark Andrews: My Love Letter to Wrestling" with an h/t to Wrestling INC. for the transcription.