Riz Ahmed was headed to a ‘Star Wars’ event — until Homeland Security stopped him

Riz Ahmed won an Emmy in 2017 for lead actor in a limited series or movie for '"The Night Of."
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Emmy-winning actor Riz Ahmed, revealed Tuesday that Homeland Security stopped him from boarding a plane to a “Star Wars” Celebration event in Chicago last month.

The security scrutiny was nothing new, said the actor, who is Muslim, during a panel at Tuesday’s CAA Amplify leadership summit in Ojai, recounting a number of other times the exact same thing has happened to him over the years, even as his fame rose.

Related: Michael B. Jordan, Riz Ahmed, Eva Longoria want more diversity onscreen »

“The same people swabbing me for explosives want selfies,” Ahmed joked.


But there is nothing funny about what many Muslims face when they take to the skies, Ahmed said, adding that often travelers are checked by security in one country before being greeted by Homeland Security upon landing in America and being rechecked all over again.

“It’s really scary to be a Muslim right now,” he said.

The same people swabbing me for explosives want selfies.

Riz Ahmed

Ahmed, who is of Pakistani descent, played Bodhi Rook in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and he won accolades for his performance in HBO’s “The Night Of.” His appearance was canceled at the Celebration event, but a reason was not cited at the time.

“We’re so sorry to announce that due to circumstances beyond his control, Riz Ahmed will be canceling his full appearance,” Star Wars Celebration tweeted, followed by an invite for attendees to exchange their tickets.