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Rising Kurdish Actress Aveen Ahmed: My Roles Must Show My Swedish Identity

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Due to her Kurdish looks, actress Aveen Ahmed has many times played the role of a young foreigner in Swedish films.

The Swedish-born actress, 22, says that Kurds are now part of Swedish society and the roles she plays must reflect that.

“We are a part of this society now. I was born and raised here, and I am a Swede,” she says.

  “When I am given a role to play, I shouldn’t be viewed differently.  I should be viewed as a Swede,” says Ahmed, who is gaining popularity for her acting in Swedish movies.

Ahmed’s father is an actor from Sulaimani, and her mother is from Afrin.  From her parents she has inherited the Kurdish Sorani and Kurmanji dialects, but is also fluent in Swedish.

So far, she has acted in more than a half-dozen Swedish movies, most focusing on themes such as social or family violence, immigrant youths in Sweden, conflicts between adolescents and families, and the hostility between young immigrants and Swedes.

One of the movies that helped spread her name was about 60 youths who died in a nightclub arson attack in Gothenburg.

Ahmed does not believe in remaining silent before injustice.

“Recently the deportation of asylum seekers has become the hot media topic. Newspapers clearly report that police are searching for asylum seekers in the metros and train stations in order to deport them. When I heard this, I immediately went to a metro station to fight for the asylum seekers,” Ahmed said.

She added that, nowadays, she looks carefully at scripts, and rejects those that paint women and Kurds in a negative light.


“When I see the script of a movie, for example titled ‘Honor Killing,’ I see it as degrading to Kurdish women, and I refuse to play in such movies,” she says. “We must not accept all roles. The image they have created in their minds about us must be changed,” she insists, referring to Swedish stereotypes about Kurdish immigrants.

Ahmed has played mostly in Swedish movies, but says she would happily accept if offered roles in Kurdish films.

Kurdish cinema is getting greater recognition in Sweden.  At a two-day Kurdish Film Festival in Stockholm last February, the 10 movies chosen for the event transported audiences to Kurdistan and through Kurdish themes.

Oz Nojeen, Soran Ismael, Shan Atic, and Karzan Qadir’s Bekas, were among the films screened at the festival.