I’m an Arab actor who’s been asked to audition for the role of terrorist more than 30 times. If La La Land cleans up at the Oscars, I’m done
My first film job at the age of 14 – Steven Spielberg’s Munich – featured me as an Islamic terrorist’s son. When I complained about racial profiling to a director, I was told that I was lucky I could ‘use my ethnicity as a playing card’ in an industry where ‘white actors are overlooked’
I’ve worked as a professional performer in the UK since the age of 12 – and my Arab heritage has pitted me against some pretty awful racial profiling in the industry. My first film job at the age of 14 – Steven Spielberg’s Munich – featured me as an Islamic terrorist’s son. Needless to say, that was an explosive introduction into showbusiness.
I’m now 26, and in my career, I’ve been sent nearing 30 scripts for which I’ve been asked to play terrorists on screen. Roles have varied from ones as meaty as “Suspicious Bearded Man on Tube” to “Muslim man who hides his bombs in a deceptive burka”.