Riz Ahmed withdraws from Bill Gates' event honouring Modi

Published: September 17, 2019

Recent buzz is Indian PM Narendra Modi is to be awarded by the the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan later this month. In attendance for the event are Hollywood actors Riz Ahmed and Jameela Jamil.

However, the celebs have now confirmed they will not be attending the event.

According to the Gates Foundation, the two actors have pulled out of the fourth annual GoalKeepers Award ceremony where Modi is scheduled to receive the the ‘Global Goalkeeper Award’.

“Jameela Jamil and Riz Ahmed are no longer participating in Goalkeepers,” the foundation told HuffPost India on Monday. The two actors have not publicly commented on their withdrawal from the ceremony.

Though no reason has been supplied, it is being speculated that the decision was taken in response to the ongoing situation in Jammu and Kashmir where an indefinite unofficial curfew and communication clampdown has cut Kashmiris off from the rest of the world for well over a month.

Ahmed and Jamil’s decision was initially tweeted by journalist Azad Essa on Monday.

Academics and activists have been trying to convince Gates Foundation to withdraw Modi’s award. There is  speculation that New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern may also withdraw from the event.

Ahmed has been a key voice in speaking out against Islamophobia and discrimination, and recently took to Twitter to highlight an instance of “everyday racism” his brother encountered while on a trip to Australia.

The first Emmy-winning actor of Asian descent, he is known for his role as Nasir Khan in the critically acclaimed HBO miniseries The Night Of.

He also played Bodhi Rook in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and starred alongside Tom Hardy in Marvel blockbuster Venom last year.

The award ceremony, which is scheduled for September 25-26, is to go on as planned at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. The annual awards, in five categories, are presented to leaders and individuals for their efforts in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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