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Monday, April 15, 2024

Scary to be Muslim right now: American entertainer Riz Ahmed

News Desk |

Pakistani-American entertainer Riz Ahmed recently shared his concerns over the rising Islamophobia in Western countries.

Taking the stage at the CAA Amplify Conference in Ojai, United States, Riz urged the Hollywood fraternity to ponder over the impact of the negative portrayal of Muslims in movies which subconsciously affects audiences.

“The efforts of individual artists or storytellers may be bold, they may be progressive, they may act as beacons of hope for other people, but in the face of institutional prejudice and institutionalized obstacles, systemic obstacles, our efforts can sometimes still fall flat,” the actor/rapper explained.

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Ahmed reflected on his experiences of 15 years being searched impulsively at airports, and often suspected of explosives, despite having a big name in Hollywood. He said that the same officers then posed for selfies with him.

“Hasan Minhaj could win a Peabody, I could win an Emmy, Ibtihaj Muhammad could win the Olympics, but some of these obstacles are systemic, and we can’t really face them alone,” he said. “We need your help. I’m basically here to ask for your help. Because it’s really scary to be a Muslim right now. Super scary.”

He added, “With all my privilege and profile, I often wonder if this is going to be the year they round us up, if this is the year they’re going to put Trump’s Muslim registry into action, if this is going to be the year they ship us all off,” he continued, referring to incidents of Islamophobia such as Brexit-fuelled nationalism and the treatment of Uighur Muslims being detained in China.

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“I think lives are quite literally at stake here,” he said. “The representation of Muslims on screen — that feeds the policies that get enacted, the people that get killed, the countries that get invaded,” added Riz Ahmed.

He advised that through a systematic analysis of the data over how Muslims have been stereotyped as ‘terrorists’ can help curb the systematic and legal oppression of Muslims.