Mahershala is an American actor. He is a Muslim but he is not from mainstream Islam but from the Ahmedia sect. This sect is banned in Pakistan. In many Islamic countries like Indonesia and Bangladesh, an Ahmedia can only worship in secret for fear of being killed. Mahershala won the Oscar for his role in the film "Moonlight". He had stiff competition but he sailed through winning the best- supporting actor award for his role as the drug dealer in the film

Mahershala is of mixed race and a Muslim. This reverses last year's trend when all the award winners were white.

This had resulted in a backlash that the blacks were being deliberately ignored. Mahershala has an added distinction that he is the first Muslim actor to win an oscar.

Schism in Islamic world

The award brought to fore the deep schism in the Islamic World. There was an initial euphoria that a Muslim had won the Oscar, but it soon evaporated when it dawned on all that the man was an Ahmedia. In Pakistan Ahmedia's are not allowed to call themselves Muslim and in other countries, Ahmedias can worship only in secret. In Pakistan, the Ahmedia's cannot call their places of worship mosques and they are frequently attacked and killed by majority Sunni Muslims.

The Pakistan ambassador to the UN on learning that Mahershala was the first Muslim to win the Oscar tweeted her congratulations.

On learning that he was an Ahmedia, the tweet was quickly withdrawn. Despite the reaction from the Muslim world, the USA and Hollywood recognize Mahershala as this year's award winner as the first Muslim to win an Oscar.

Atoning for last year?

The award ceremony was a glittering affair except for a faux pas when the wrong film was read out as the best film.

The Oscars are now getting greatly politicized and there seems to be a black-white divide. Last year when no black featured in the lineup, a backlash took place. This is sad as awards should not be decided on the color of the skin. After last year's backlash, one has a lurking doubt that perhaps this year some amends have been made by giving an oscar to a black who is also a Muslim,