The “Venom” star described being swabbed for explosives and questioned at an unnamed airport in the United States, claiming it wasn’t a rare occurrence and that he’s frequently stopped and searched when he flies. The Department of Homeland Security wouldn’t comment on any alleged incidents without being given a specific date.
“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 reportedly told the crowd.
He pointed out that the success of other high-profile Muslim stars hasn’t necessarily helped the plight of other Muslims in the United States.
“[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.”
Ahmed also made note of Uighur Muslims being detained in China, as well as the influence of nationalism on Brexit, adding, “I think lives are quite literally at stake here. The representation of Muslims on screen — that feeds the policies that get enacted, the people that get killed, the countries that get invaded.”
The star, who was raised in Great Britain, previously told Stephen Colbert that he’s hoping to change stereotypes in his native country through his work, especially in “The Night Of,” in which he played a Pakistani-American college student accused of murder.
“When I was growing up, I felt like I had to qualify it and say I’m British-Pakistani,” Ahmed said on “The Late Show” in August 2016. “But now, in this day and age, I feel like this is what British looks like me. It looks like me, like Idris Elba. And hopefully through Nasir Khan, people will see that’s what American can look like as well.”