LOS ANGELES: Pakistani-origin English actor Riz Ahmed has opened up about Muslim representation in Hollywood, Islamophobia and the discrimination he faces because of his race, saying the current times are "super scary".
During Creative Artists Agency's Amplify leadership summit focusing on diversity and multicultural issues across entertainment, sports, tech and politics, Ahmed headed a panel where he revealed that he has been constantly stopped and searched at airports.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ahmed said that a similar incident recently happened when he was travelling to Chicago for the "Star Wars" convention and was stopped by Homeland Security "from boarding the plane".
"(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.
"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," he said.
Ahmed, who won the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Emmy for his starring role in HBO's "The Night Of" becoming the first South-Asian man to win the award, added that the easiest way to win elections today is through "Islamophobia".
"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."
In May, Ahmed had shared an account highlighting the racism his brother, Kamran Ahmed, a psychiatrist, faced on a recent trip to Australia.