Riz Ahmed was not able to attend this year's Star Wars Celebration because of Homeland Security. The Rogue One actor spoke at the recent Amplify Summit, which was set up to focus on diversity and multicultural issues in entertainment, sports, technology, and politics. Ahmed was one of many actors who appeared on stage, which also included Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Hasan Minhaj, and Eva Longoria.
Riz Ahmed took to the stage during his Amp session and gave a passionate speech about Muslim representation in Hollywood, along with his daily fight against discrimination in the United States. It was during his speech that he brought up being stopped by airports for screening many times in his life. Just recently, Homeland Security prevented him from boarding his plane to Chicago for Star Wars Celebration. The Rogue One: actor did not elaborate any further, according to the original report. Ahmed had this to say about his daily fear of being a Muslim in the United States.
"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."
His race has kept Riz Ahmed on high alert for fifteen years now. No matter how much success he achieves, he finds that he still keeps running into the same issue and it all stems from the fact that he is Muslim. Again, Ahmed asks for help as he goes on to explain the problem. He explains.
"(Hasan 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."
When it comes down to it Riz Ahmed is fighting for equal rights by telling his personal story, which, unfortunately, is not rare. The Rogue One actor is sharing his story in order to spread the word and get others thinking about other cultures of the world. He finished up by going even further in depth to what he does on a daily basis. He had this to say.
"How I do what I do is because like all of you here, I'm a code-switcher. We all know how to change the way we talk, the way we dress, the way we walk as we enter one room or another. We all know how to navigate terrain that isn't of our own making. That's how I can do it, but that's not why I do what I do. The why is because I don't want to have to code-switch anymore."
Star Wars Celebration had promoted a Rogue One Team Up Photo Op, but later had to cancel because Riz Ahmed was not able to board his plane due to homeland security. The official social media account for the event stated the reason for Ahmed's absence was "circumstances beyond his control." Muslim travelers have faced prejudice for decades now, but it has only gotten worse with the war on terror and the Trump administration's Muslim ban. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to announce the Riz Ahmed news.