Actor Riz Ahmed is shedding some light on how it’s “scary to be a Muslim right now” by sharing a recent and personal example.
In April, the Emmy-winning actor — who played Bodhi Rook in 2016’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” — was scheduled to make an appearance at Chicago’s “Star Wars Celebration” convention but had to cancel at the last minute.
According to Ahmed, Homeland Security wouldn’t let him board a plane to Chicago because of racial profiling — and noted that he’s been consistently stopped at airports for the past 15 years.
HuffPost reached out to Homeland Security for comment, but was asked by the agency to provide an exact time and date.
During his talk at the summit, which focused on diversity and multicultural issues across media, the 36-year-old actor spoke candidly about the daily fight against discrimination that Muslims have had to endure in a post-9/11 world — which has become significantly more heated during President Donald Trump’s tenure in office.
“[Hassan Minhaj] can win a Peabody, I can win an Emmy, Ibtihaj Muhammad can go to the Olympics, but some of these obstacles are systemic and we can’t really face them alone, we need your help,” Ahmed said. “I’m basically here to ask for your help, because it’s really scary to be a Muslim right now, super scary. I’ve often wondered, is this going to be the year when they round us up, if this is going to be the year they put Trump’s registry into action. If this is going to be the year they ship us all off.”
Ahmed then called for Hollywood to research how Muslims are represented on screen in a data-driven, targeted and systemic way, so that Muslim representation doesn’t consist mostly of clichéd and racist tropes.
“I think lives are quite literally at stake here,” he said, per Variety. “The representation of Muslims on screen — that feeds the policies that get enacted, the people that get killed, the countries that get invaded.”
According to Variety, Amed received a standing ovation from the audience after he spoke.