WWE’s Ali works to fight Muslim stereotypes as wrestler
Adeel Alam has had horrible things said to him.
“I think the worst thing that ever got yelled at me while performing was, ‘I thought we killed you Osama,’ ” Alam said in a CBS Evening News interview.
Alam, who wrestles as Ali in WWE (previously Mustafa Ali), talked about his efforts to fight stereotypes as a Muslim wrestler in an interview with Jim Axelrod that aired Wednesday night.
Alam was raised in Chicago by a Pakistani father and Indian mother. He is a former police officer with a wife and two children.
In the interview, he tells a story about wrestling on the independent circuit. He used to perform as a bad guy before getting signed by WWE, and one incident made him change how he portrayed himself in the ring.
“There was a young boy of maybe 6, 7 years old. He jumps out of his chair and he put both of his fists up. And it hit me like a ton of bricks right there. I go, ‘You just taught this kid to hate people that look like you,’” Alam said. “I’ve never felt more disgusted with myself.”
Alam is a member of the SmackDown roster and performs Friday nights on FOX. He has also wrestled on WWE’s “205 Live” show on the WWE Network.
Zach Brendza is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Zach at 724-850-1288, [email protected] or via Twitter .