‘United 93’ Actor denied entry into the US

A little bit of news via AOL moviefone is stating that Iraqi actor Lewis Alsamari is claiming that he is 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.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in London said she was aware of the case, but did not have any immediate comment on the status of Alsamari’s application to travel to New York.

Alsamari added: “I hope I am not going to have to wait until the film comes out in Britain to watch United 93. It seems strange that I cannot go over for the premiere.”

He said he escaped from the Iraqi army in 1993 and stayed in neighboring Jordan until 1995, when he moved to Britain seeking asylum. According to the Standard, he was granted asylum in Britain in 1998.

Alright, 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 the fact 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 that 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. >>Read the Full Review

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

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 that 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 that at this point someone should be calling in an exception for Mr. Alsamari…

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

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