"I'm a Muslim": Read Mahershala Ali's Moving SAG Speech in Full

The 'Moonlight' star converted to Islam seventeen years ago.

Mahershala Ali made an emotional and stirring speech at the SAG Awards this evening, opening up about his personal history as he called for more tolerance in the wake of Donald Trump's Muslim ban.

Ali, who accepted the Best Supporting Actor award for his performance in Moonlight, was raised Christian by his mother, an ordained minister, before converting to Islam in 2000.

"I think what I've learned from working on Moonlight is we see what happens when we persecute people," Ali began. "They fold into themselves, and what I was so grateful about in having the opportunity to play [his] Juan was playing a gentleman. Who saw a young man folding into himself as the result of the persecution of his community, and taking the opportunity to uplift him, tell him that he mattered, that he was okay, accept him and I hope that we do a better job of that.

"When we get caught up in the minutiae, the details that make us all different, there's two ways of seeing that. You can see the texture of that person, the qualities that make them unique, or you can go to war about it, say, 'That person is different from me, I don't like you, so let's battle.' My mother is an ordained minister, 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, we put things to the side, I'm able to see her, she's able to see me, we love each other, the love has grown. That stuff is minutiae. It's not that important."

Watch Ali's speech in full:

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Emma Dibdin is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles who writes about culture, mental health, and true crime. She loves owls, hates cilantro, and can find the queer subtext in literally anything.