Swedish filmmaker denied U.S. visa

Aug. 26, 2011 at 3:28 PM
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STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- A Swedish filmmaker born in Uganda has been denied a visa to the United States because his name matches one on a U.S. terrorist watch list.

"Everyone in my family got their visa within a week. But not me. My name is Othman Karim. That's enough," the frustrated Karim, 43, told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Prior to living in Sweden for 30 years, Karim resided in the United States working for a time at Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, the Swedish news agency TT reported.

Karim has been an industry professional in Sweden hosting the television program, "Mosaic," and has directed several movies including 2010's critically acclaimed, "Dear Alice" with Danny Glover.

He was trying to get to Los Angeles to attend a film class and was successful in obtaining visas for everyone in his family but himself.

"By claiming that I have the same name as a terrorist, the authorities can treat me however they want," Karim said.

He first learned he was on a watch-list after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks when he tried a wire transfer of money to Uganda to help pay for health treatments for his father. The transfer was stopped by Western Union who told him he was on the watch-list, TT reported Thursday.

"This is another form of the racism I've experienced previously. Now I'm not only a (black), but I'm also a terrorist," Karim said.

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