EMPEROR’S ISLAMOPHOBIA: Shah Rukh Khan Detained at US airport

By Ram Puniyani

The Bollywood film icon Shah Rukh Khan was questioned for two hours at a New York airport. The Former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam was treated like a commoner by the US based Airlines staff in his own country. They are both Indian citizens and Muslims and hence victims of American Islamophobia.

Shah Rukh Khan, one of the best known actors from Bollywood was detained for questioning in Newark airport in US (15th August). The actor who is a global icon of sorts was grilled by the US official as his name is a Muslim one, and the legendary actor felt humiliated with the treatment meted out to him. While the star actor was being questioned in this manner the Jet Airways staff vouched for him and many of his international fans were seeking his autographs, but the US official, drunk on the Imperial arrogance and infected by anti Muslim sentiments refused to recognize Khan. That any Google search on his name would have yielded infinite entries to establish his identity, is an elementary knowledge by now.

Just a few weeks ago, India’s ex-President, the scientist of repute, APJ Abdul Kalam was treated like a commoner by the US based Airlines staff. Irfan Khan was also meted with similar treatment. Other actors, with non Muslim names, have also been given such humiliating treatment by US officials but the logic in these cases is different, Neil Nitin Mukesh for having a skin color fairer then his Hindu name and John Abram for having Afghanistan on his passport. In addition the senior ministers from India George Fernandez and Pranab Mukherjee have also been strip searched in the past.

Most of the channels and many eminent columnists criticized Shahrukh Khan and those voicing their protest on the grounds that it is these security checks which have saved US from another terrorist attack post 9/11 2001. The desirability or other wise of these checks apart, there are two basic questions. One is that can those having diplomatic passports and those listed in India’s list of people exempt from such checks be subjected to these ordeals? Secondly why secondary checks are more for those with Muslim names? These commentators realization of the tasks of US security officials notwithstanding the questions remain the double standards of the security check system.

While the major phenomenon visible here is that of US officials have imbibed the anti Islam and anti Muslim propaganda, post 9/11 2001, the additional factor is the inherent arrogance and superiority complex of this Imperial power since US emerged as the sole super power, after the decline of Soviet block in international political arena. The treatment which US officials are giving to Indian dignitaries and celebrities is in stark contrast to the treatment which Indian administration and people are giving to the US dignitaries. The visit of Hillary Clinton just a month ago demonstrates the reality. The US Secretary of State was not only given a red carpet welcome, Indian media also went gaga about her, starting from describing her smart dresses to the details of her smile at different occasions.

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(Submitted by Feroz Mehdi)

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