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United 93 Actor Denied Entry Into the US

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United 93 to debut at Tribeca next week.A little bit of news via AOL moviefone is stating that Iraqi actor Lewis Alsamari is claiming that he has been denied entry into the U.S. by the American embassy in London. Alsamari was hoping to travel to New York to be present when Universal releases United 93 at the Tribeca Film Festival next week. Here is a snippet of the article from AOL:

Alsamari, 30, said he may have been denied entry by the U.S. embassy in London because he served in the Iraqi army in the early 1990s.

“I think this was because I am still an Iraqi citizen and fought in the army — but that was only because I was forced to,” he told London’s Evening Standard newspaper.

“It would be so disappointing not to be able to go because I still have not seen the film. I have only seen footage and it would have been amazing to be in New York for the premiere.”

All right, here is where I unleash my very strong opinions in regard to both this film and this situation (I will attempt to restrain myself.) As our readers may recall, I have not yet been very supportive of the release of United 93. My argument has been that I don’t feel that America is ready to go out and see a movie about a tragedy that is still so fresh in our minds. But no matter what side you take in that debate, the fact remains this film is going to be released and people will go out and see it. Thus far critics have received it very well, touting it as being very respectful to the events of 9/11. One of my personal favorite critics, Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly had this to say:

Pulling the bandage of sentiment cleanly away from oozing concepts like ”heroism” and ”our nation’s war on terror” in the aftermath of recent wounds, here’s a drama about the most politically charged crisis of our time that grants the dignity of autonomy to every soul involved.

Needless to say, it is reviews such as this that are easing my mind slightly about the film, but I am still not convinced it will be well received by the whole of America. But I guess at this point only time will tell.[ADBLOCKHERE]

Coming back to the issue at hand, I find it absolutely preposterous that an actor in this film is being denied the opportunity to be here for the film’s opening. But then again, as Americans we have been conditioned to trust the government knows more than we do and will always make the right decisions when it comes to national security, right? I don’t know about all that, but I do know at this point someone should be calling in an exception for Mr. Alsamari…

We will keep an eye on this story, and hopefully will be able to provide a review of United 93 direct from Tribeca; so stay tuned…

By Neil Miller, Editor of Film School Rejects

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  • What does he expect? Yusaf Islam (the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens) was not allowed in the country and they even let him board the plane. They let his daughter in though…I guess women aren’t that dangerous or the sins of the father don’t visit the daughter?

  • -E

    he probably expected to be treated fairly for who he is and not what a stereotype is.

  • Let’s see, he was chosen to be in the movie because he was a convincing terrorist and now we’re getting angry that the airlines picked up on it?

  • Where did they film the movie?

  • Neil

    I believe the film was made primarily in the UK.

  • Ryan it’s not the airlines who have “picked up on it”. The article clearly says “he has been denied entry into the U.S. by the American embassy in London.” It’s surprising that he’s being denied entry and if his explanation is correct then it’s outrageous. At the very least more of an explanation is needed.