Rizwan “Riz” Ahmed, also known as Riz MC, is a British actor, rapper, and activist. As an actor, he has won an Emmy Award and has received nominations for a Golden Globe and three British Independent Film Awards.
Actor Riz Ahmed has pulled out of an event where Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to receive an award.
The fourth annual Goalkeeper Award ceremony, hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, were to award Modi for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a cleanliness campaign launched by the Indian government, later this month. “Jameela Jamil and Riz Ahmed are no longer participating in Goalkeepers,” the Gates foundation confirmed to the HuffPost India.
While it is unclear what prompted the actors’ decision, the Modi government has developed a reputation for being both anti-Muslim and religiously fundamentalist in nature. US senators, Congress members, and comedians have drawn attention to new developments in India that complicate the kind of image India tries to project of itself. The events in occupied Kashmir, as well as the disenfranchisement of more than a million Muslims in Assam, has made global headlines.
Famous for her role in The Good Place, Jameela Jamil was asked to comment on the news reports of her pulling out. “As I’ve said before, when I publicly discuss world politics, especially when war is involved, I become the recipient of a multitude of death and rape threats. As a survivor, I cannot and will not endure that treatment, so I will not be commenting on any of this,” she wrote in response on Twitter.
Ahmed has made no comments on the news.
The Gates Foundation decision to invite Modi has received criticism from South Asian academics and community members alike.
The ceremony will take place between the 24th and 26th of September, when Modi is scheduled to visit the United States.