Bollywood Star held for questioning by TSA because his name is Khan

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

With adoring fans from New Delhi to New York City, the Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan — described by some as the Brad Pitt of India — was feted at a reception following the India Day parade in Midtown Manhattan in 2003.

On Sunday, Mr. Khan was again the talk of the annual parade, even though he did not participate in the festivities. Mr. Khan, who is Muslim, made worldwide headlines after being stopped for questioning at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday evening on his way to Chicago for a similar parade celebrating India’s independence.

But to make matters worse, the trip was also to promote a new film, “My Name is Khan,” which is about racial profiling of Muslims after the Sept. 11 attacks…

Kevin Corsaro, a spokesman for the Customs and Border Protection division of the Department of Homeland Security, said on Sunday that Mr. Khan was selected for an in-depth interview, known as a “secondary inspection,” during a routine process that lasted just over an hour. He said that Mr. Khan’s checked luggage was lost by the airline, which prolonged the process.

Mr. Corsaro said that while he could not discuss Mr. Khan’s specific case because of privacy issues, passengers are selected for a variety of reasons: for instance, to verify their identity and purpose of travel. He said that they are not selected because of their religion…

Outrage over the incident has been growing in India, where Mr. Khan’s fans planned a protest demonstration near the Parliament in New Delhi. The federal information minister, Ambika Soni, was quoted by The Associated Press as suggesting that India adopt a similar policy toward Americans traveling to India.

The average whitebread American has no conception of what racial, ethnic or religious profiling is like. They certainly have little conception of what it feels like.

The days of Bush and Cheney may be over; but – the memories linger on every day – if you travel by air in and out of the United States.

2 thoughts on “Bollywood Star held for questioning by TSA because his name is Khan

  1. keaneo says:

    These gutter-level civil servants sound like they’re ready to bust every good squash player ever to come out of South Asia.

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