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Khans react to Shahrukh's detention in the US

Published: Monday, August 17, 2009, 16:29 [IST]

[an error occurred while processing this directive]Zayed Khan - “Of course we Khans go through this kind of humiliation all the time. I"ve gone through it; Salman has gone through it. I"m glad people are talking about it because of Shahrukh Khan. There have been times when I"ve been with 17 people in a team on tour, or for a shooting in the US. Out of these only one gets detained on the airport while the others get cleared in no time at all.

“Guess who invariably gets detained? And some Caucasian bully who does these checking by the book and who thinks all Khans are terrorists will tell you it"s a random check. Tell me, how can there be random checks on 5 US airports one after another and in all of them only yours truly gets detained for additional checking? I think there"s a big difference between being secure and being ignorant.

“I think American investigation agencies need to take a close look at the way they treat a certain community of people. How uncool is to humiliate your guests? We in our family have stopped going to the US because of these, ha-ha random checks on the airport. We don"t go to the US for holidays, only for work and to meet family and close friends.

“The Americans must realize they"re losing out on a lot of goodwill. They first insulted our former president Abdul Kalam. And now Shahrukh. Humiliation of Indians anywhere is unacceptable. Nothing has been done about racist attacks on Indian students in Australia. I see no difference between what"s done in Australia and in the US to Indians."

Iqbal Khan (TV actor)- “Such attacks on Khans is nothing new. These things happen on American airports. It is time for all Muslims in the world to let everyone know Islam means believing in God and the Almighty and in peace. It"s happened to me. Once I was to go to the US for a show. I was the only one who didn"t get a visa. And I was the only Muslim. However recently I applied again and I got a 10-year multiple visa."

Shabina Khan (Dress Designer)- “I really dunno what happened with Shahrukh in the US. But I definitely get into issues at the airport thanks to my surname. It"s annoying. I"m now on my way to the same show where SRK was detained and harassed. I hope I don"t get into any hassles. It"s scary."

Kabir Khan (Director)- “I was accompanying my wife in the US along with the Morani Brothers. It was a flight from LA to Washington just 15 days after 9-11. So the fear and paranoia were not totally unjustified. We were waiting for the flight to take off talking to each other in Hindi, when some passengers complained that we were talking in a 'strange" language. Within no time two burly FBI agents came on board and took my co-passengers and me to the front of the plane.

“When they got to know my name, they questioned me for more than two hours, googled my name for terrorist links and then finally allowed me to fly. They asked me if I had been to Pakistan. I told them no. If I had told them I had been to Afghanistan they"d have freaked out. Two other passengers on board refused to fly with us. So they were asked to deboard, the logic being that if my name was cleared by no means could I be prevented from traveling. So you see post 9-11 persecution comes with its inbuilt safety measures. But I honestly think a part of the global fear is justified. We can"t blame people for being paranoid after what has happened."

Irrfan Khan- “More than the physical torture, it"s the wounds of humiliation that never heal after you undergo such a horrific experience. It happened to me on two occasions. I was detained in New York and Los Angeles airport for secondary interrogation. I was outraged. I was told to quietly come into a room for questioning and identification verification. I wasn"t allowed to talk. When I tried to ask why I was being treated this way I was told to keep quiet. I wasn"t allowed to use my phone, even to inform the people who had come to receive me at the airport. They said, 'No, you just sit down". All because; my name was Irrfan Khan. The authorities did their job like computers, not caring how it affected the individual. You can"t argue back or rationalize. America is a country of superior sophisticated knowledge.

“Surely they can tell the difference between a terrorist and an innocent traveler. On a second occasion this time in New York, when I was detained I blew my top. I told this big Black American guy, 'Please clear the confusion about my identity once and for all. Or don"t provide me with a visa. I don"t want to come back to the US" the guy wanted to know if it was a threat. I was taken aback. Mira Nair had to intervene. She advised me to never counter-question them. I wasn"t allowed to even get up from my chair. This is the free spirit of America. This 90-minute detention changed me completely. Just the thought of being held froze my blood. Can you imagine what a 90-day detention can do to an innocent man thrown into jail?"

Dilip Kumar (Yusuf Khan)- “After hearing these atrocious accounts who wants to travel to such a stupid place when our beautiful India offers Kashmir"s jannat and Kerala"s luminous glory? God forbid if we have to go to such a country."

Eijaaz Khan (TV actor)- “I"ve gone through similar experiences a couple of times in the US. While all my friends breezed through immigration I was questioned and had to give the address I was staying at, and for how long. My whereabouts were even checked by them later. This was in February after 9-11. I guess this kind of treatment is to be expected by us Khans. We"ve to take it in our stride."

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