Muslims need non-Muslim allies to counter Islamophobia: Riz Ahmed

Published: April 20, 2019
Email
PHOTO: RIZ AHMED/INSTAGRAM

PHOTO: RIZ AHMED/INSTAGRAM

It wasn’t easy for British-Pakistani star to make his mark in Hollywood.

Being brown and Muslim came with its own consequences. Yet he managed to bag an Emmy for his stellar performance in HBO‘s The Night Of; becoming the first Muslim to do so.

However, he still fights the fight of breaking stereotypes. The 35-year-old took to Instagram to share issues Muslims have to face these days.

Riz Ahmed. PHOTO: REUTERS

Riz Ahmed. PHOTO: REUTERS

He joined hands with a campaign called Phenomenally Muslim, that calls for unity among Muslim community.

“I’m feeling scared, defiant, and trying maintain love in the face of hate. I’m feeling Phenomenally Muslim,” the Venom star wrote as caption.

Highlighting the hate crimes against Muslims as regular occurrence globally, Ahmed shared, “In the USA; no fly lists and presidential incitement to violence leading to skyrocketing hate crimes. In China; mass detention camps. In India and Myanmar; state sponsored lynching. I’m all these places what’s at stake isn’t just the fate of Muslims, what’s at stake is much more fundamental and affects us all – a civilised world where we are all considered equally human.”

He continued, “There’s something phenomenally wrong in our society when politicians and media outlets can spout anti Muslim hate with no consequences – except more votes and increased sales. This has to stop. And it can, but Muslims need more non-Muslim allies.”

PHOTO: CHARLIE GRAY

PHOTO: CHARLIE GRAY

Ahmed went on, “To confront Islamaphobia wherever you see it, to speak out against the incitement of violence against us as a group and against individuals like Ilhan Omar, against travel bans and illegal detention, against the apologist politicians and media who make excuses for right wing terrorists who murder us at prayer.”

“Make a stand on the right side of history. Because history has taught us what darkness lies ahead if we don’t act now,” he concluded.

 

As Nasir Khan in The Night Of, Ahmed plays a Muslim living in the US and facing a murder charge. The cliched portrayal of the actor’s character mirrored the misconception of Muslims overseas and he took the fight head on.

PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ RIZ AHMED

PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ RIZ AHMED

“It [the character] weighed quite heavily on me,” GQ quoted Ahmed as saying. “It’s weird to say this, but at points I almost felt like I was on the verge of a breakdown… while I was filming, physically and mentally.”

He has always been vocal when it comes to how Muslims are conceived globally, especially following 9/11.

Three years back, on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, he said, “When I was growing up I felt like I had to qualify it by saying I’m British Pakistani, but now I kind of feel like in this day and age, this is what British looks like. [It] looks like me, looks like Idris Elba, and hopefully through Nasir Khan people can see that that’s what American can look like as well.”

PHOTO: THE WRAP

PHOTO: THE WRAP

Colbert previously asked him, “Do you have any issues when you travel here? Because Donald Trump says no Muslims, no Muslims to the United States.”

Ahmed revealed that if he’s only offered characters because he’s a Muslim, then he would not like to be described as one.

“I feel that it then becomes a qualifying adjective and limits me from doing more things that I know I can. Other than that, I don’t have any issues,” he confessed. “It’s moving and affirming on a fundamental level. At the same time, it’s tragic that people need to be reminded that there are more like them in the world. But then again, it’s exciting to be part of the change and this shift in culture and society.”

Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below.

Facebook Conversations

Leave Your Reply Below

Your comments may appear in The Express Tribune paper. For this reason we encourage you to provide your city. The Express Tribune does not bear any responsibility for user comments.

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.

More in Gossip