Mustafa Ali opened up in a new web series about his journey to the main roster and how he had to break racial stereotypes before getting to WWE.
“When I tuned in, anyone of Middle Eastern heritage was always portrayed as the bad guy, the evil foreigner, the terrorist,” Mustafa says in the latest installment of a series called The Secret Life of Muslims. “And I knew I didn’t want to do that.”
The SmackDown Superstar then talked about wearing a mask at the beginning of his career to hide who he was. “But I was getting frustrated. I wasn’t getting better bookings, I wasn’t competing at bigger events,” he says, adding that some of his peers then encouraged him to portray a villainous foreigner. “And so was born Prince Mustafa Ali.”
After the character switch, Mustafa saw an increase in bookings all over the country, but his heart wasn’t really in it. “I remember seeing a young boy, maybe 6 or 7 years old. And as I approached the guard rail he jumped out of his chair and put his hands up. And I remember looking into this kid’s eyes and I remember seeing hate. And right then an there it just hit me. Did I just teach this kid to hate people who look like me?,” Ali says. “And from that point on I created a new character: Mustafa Ali.”
Check out the full episode below.