By Miranda Prynne (The Daily Telegraph UK)
British actor and musician Riz Ahmed suffered racist abuse from fellow England fans while supporting the team in Brazil that left him feeling unable to continue his patriotic chants.
The Relunctant Fundamentalist star was singing in support of Roy Hodgson’s team during their game against Uruguay at the Corinthians Arena in São Paulo on Thursday night when he was verbally attacked.
Mr Ahmed, who is of Pakistani heritage, tweeted: “I was at São Paulo stadium, edge of seat, singing Eng-er-land. Half time I get racist abuse from England fan. 2nd half, I just can’t sing it.”
Just days before the performer, who has appeared in a string of films including Four Lions and Ill Manors, as well as a rapping as Riz MC, had expressed his joy at the apparent lack of racist attitudes in Brazil.
He wrote: “Best thing about Brazil? Yours truly brown dude with beard can shout ingil-TERRA without causing security alerts.”
The 31-year-old, who grew up in Wembley, north London, before attending Oxford University and Central School of Speech and Drama, has tackled the issue of racial discrimination and prejudice in a number of songs and films.
His 2006 satirical rap ‘Post 9/11 Blues’ about the difficulties faced by a young Muslim man after the Twin Tower attacks, was initially banned from the UK airwaves for being too “politically sensitive”.
The 2010 film Four Lions, directed by Chris Morris, in which Mr Ahmed played the lead character Omar, was a dark comedy about a group of aspiring jihadis from Sheffield.
Mr Ahmed is just the latest in a string of high profile racist attacks at football matches which have even seen fans hurling abuse at their own players.
Mario Balotelli was racially abused by Italian supporters while training with his national side for the World Cup last month while just weeks before AC Milan players were pelted with bananas by the crowd.
In April, Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, spoke out against shutting stadiums as punishment for racist fans but urged football associations to support point deductions instead.