Another Ahmadi has made headlines recently. Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, he has been announced as the first Muslim to ever win an Oscar award. He was given the award just yesterday, and Ahmadis ran to social media and marketed this as a victory for Ahmadiyya. He was awarded for a role that he played in a “pro-gay” movie. The movie moonlight seems to promote being “gay” and has many other life lessons, its an interesting movie, feel free to check it out.

However, as we all know, Ali is an Ahmadi, and his conversion story is strange. He seems to have shared his conversion story in 2008-2009. I have produced it in the below, as well as scans. What is interesting is that:

1.  Ali thought Ahmadiyya was a cult at first impression.

2.  He saw the pictures of MGA and Khalifas as cult/personality worship.

3.  The first mosque that he ever went to was an Ahmadiyya mosque, he was invited by an ahmadi girl, Amatus Karim, he seems to have been in love with her since 1999, in fact, this was his introduction to Ahmadiyya.

4.  As Mehershalla moved to LA, he claims to have started studying Islam with some Sunni-Muslims, however, he doesnt know what they were? This is very strange.

5.  He ended up marrying the ahmadi girl (2003) and having kids with her (2016).

6.  He then mentions the vacuum machine, I am at a loss for words. Obviously, he never studied Islam or Ahmadiyya and he only joined because he loved a girl. He mentions the vacuum cleaner in a very condescending way. In fact, he seems to have repulsed by Muslims and some of their general behaviors.

Taken from: https://archive.org/stream/ShortStoriesAmericanConvertsToIslam/Short-Stories-American-Converts-to-Islam_djvu.txt

Mahershalalhashbaz AM
Oakland, California 

"As I followed the motions of the brothers - standing, 
bowing, post rating - 1 began to cry." 

I was born Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore in 1974. My family is from 
Oakland, California and I was raised as a Christian. My mother actually 
became an ordained minister while I was in college. My aunt and grandmother 
were also ordained ministers, so the commitment to religious studies on my 
mother's side of the family was quite obvious. 

After graduating from college, I moved on to New York University, where 
I started my graduate studies. New York is such a melting pot of culture, ideas, 
art, theology - not to mention the monolithic architecture that is a constant 
reminder of one's smallness - that you cannot help but think of the higher 

In grad school I began to question my belief in the divinity of Jesus, and 
more importantly, why I was taught, told, and instructed to pray to Jesus, instead 
of God. In my mind God created Jesus, so shouldn't I pray to the Creator? It 
was hard to admit, but when I questioned why I believed what I believed... I 
could only respond with, "That's what I was told." I did not have proofs of my 
own, or true knowledge that I could confidently stand on. And for many of the 
fundamental questions that I had, where there were gaps in my understanding, 
I was often told, "That's where you have to have faith." 

This is what led me to search beyond what was once comfortable for me. 
The first thing, and perhaps the hardest part of my journey, was the shifting 
of my prayers. At the end of one's prayer in Christianity, you are instructed to 
say, "In the name of Jesus, Amen." I changed this to, "In God's name, Amen." 
This was hard, because all of my conscious life I had been ending my prayer 


the same way, and I was scared that I could get punished for the questions I 
was struggling with, and even perhaps deviating from something that I once 
believed to be true. 

I began reading different books: Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav, which was 
about reincarnation, being one. I went to a Baha'i meeting in San Francisco. I 
even went as far as beginning to believe that religion was created by man out of 
fear of death. But before this belief took hold, I was introduced to Islam. 

My schoolmate, Amatus Karim, invited me to the mosque. At the time, 
I had no idea that there was a difference between Ahmadi Muslims and 
other sects. I just went to the Friday prayer. As I followed the motions of the 
brothers - standing, bowing, prostrating - I began to cry. But they weren't 
tears of sadness, or even joy, for that matter. I could not understand a word of 
the prayer, but ironically, they were tears of understanding. For the first time in 
my life, I knew where I was, spiritually speaking. 

A week later I went to another mosque in Brooklyn - a non-Ahmadiyya 
mosque. Again, I did not know there was a difference. What I did know was 
that Muslims believed in One God, and Muhammad was a prophet, as was 

So at the non-Ahmadiyya mosque, the prayer began, and once again I 
began to cry. After the prayer, a young man turned to me and asked, "Are you 
Muslim?" I responded appropriately: "No." He then asked, "Do you want to 
be?" I replied, "Yes." 

I told Amatus what had happened and she called her father, respected 
Brother Abdul Karim, in Chicago, and respected Ali Murtaza, also in New 

It took me some time to actually understand what the Ahmadiyya Muslim 
Community was. I was still coming to understand Islam in a very basic and 
general sense. And to be quite honest, I was concerned that it might be a cult. 
There was a large picture of the Promised Messiah in the office of the Queens 
mosque. It made me a bit cautious. I thought the Promised Messiah may have 
been worshiped in the Community, and that was the last thing I wanted to be a 
part of, especially considering my Christian upbringing. 

I converted to Islam in my final year at graduate school, and I began to 
work soon after graduation. As my work is often cause for travel, I was unable 
to settle into a community, or even a specific mosque. I was in Wisconsin for 
a month or so, Washington D.C. for about three months, back in New York 
for a spell, and then I found myself with a bag, and very little money in Los 


While in Lo s Angeles I began to study with some mainstream Sunni Muslims . 
I assume they were Sunnis - again denominations were not as important to me 
then. I just wanted to learn and understand the faith and practice. But it was 
my time with some brothers in L.A. that led me to the Ahmadiyya Community. 
The non-Ahmadi Muslim perspective was not practical in certain matters, 
making Islam feel difficult to the point that I developed a fear of the religion, 
which I feel Allah would not want anyone to have. For instance, I mentioned 
I travel often, and was concerned about prayer times. I asked, "What do I do 
when it is time for prayer and I am 30,000 feet in the air, on a plane?" The non- 
Ahmadi Muslim brother responded, "You lay your rug down in the aisle and 
make your prayer." But I had read in the Ahmadiyya Muslim prayer book that 
one could pray seated if necessary, or in travel (which turns out is a sunnah of 
Prophet Muhammad). So now I had opposing views. 

"In grad school I began to question my belief in 
the divinity of Jesus, and more importantly, why I was 
taught, told, and instructed to pray to Jesus, instead of 

I attended a non- Ahmadiyya convention over one weekend. It was quite 
small, maybe 15 to 20 people. During my time there I do not remember the Holy 
Qur'an being opened even once, but there was great emphasis on hadith. That 
troubled me because I know that some hadith are unreliable, but the Qur'an is 
irrefutable, so I found myself confused. I was told that Muslims should always 
eat on the floor, and must eat with three fingers - no utensils, no napkins. I was 
then instructed to lick my fingers clean. So I began thinking, in order to be a 
true Muslim, I would have to excuse myself from the table, sit on the floor of a 
restaurant, eat with three fingers, and then lick them clean. ..or else I was not 
obeying the Holy Prophet. 

I learned my prayer from audio tapes, and by mimicking photos I found in 
both Ahmadiyya and non-Ahmadiyya prayer books. A non-Ahmadi Muslim 
brother who stood out as being quite learned at that convention I attended 
actually corrected how I was holding my hands while standing upright in 
prayer. I specifically remember being afraid to say it, but I went on and asked, 
"Well, why is this the correct way, what sect is right? I've seen people hold their 
hands different ways. Some even leave them at there sides." He responded by 
saying, "The way I am showing you is correct." I was really bothered by that. 

Short Stories by American Converts to Islam 83 

And as that feeling in my stomach began to tell me that this was wrong, my 
eyes fell on the words that seemed to glow from the back of a vacuum cleaner: 
of my Ahmadiyya Muslim prayer book. As crazy as that might sound, it meant 
something to me... I knew it was a sign! 

A year and a half later, on June 23, 2001, 1 joined the Ahmadiyya Muslim 
Community at the 53rd Annual Convention in Silver Spring, Maryland. It was 
through readinglnvitation to Ahmadiyyathy the Second Khalifa, specifically the 
portion on prophecies, along with very simple, logical answers by Brother Ali 
Murtaza, to what I had believed were difficult questions, that convinced me of 
the truth of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. 

I met the Fifth Khalifa when he visited Toronto a few years back. I was 
so nervous that I did not give proper salaams! I have also written him a letter. 
I realize that I have done myself a disservice by not cultivating a stronger 
relationship with His Holiness. I pray my relationship will go beyond prayers 
and develop into a consistent correspondence. All praise is due to Allah, Lord 
of all the worlds. 
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