On air: Does America need to treat visitors with more respect?

SRKAnd do certain stars deserve different treatment? These two questions sit at the heart of your discussions off the back of the Shah Rukh Khan story which has gone into orbit online. In case you missed it…

…Shah Rukh Khan was detained at Newark airport in New Jersey for between 1-2 hours, he was only released when the Indian embassy got involved, and he’s made it pretty clear he was less than impressed with his treatment.

AP reports that US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection is saying it was part of routine screening.

A warmer welcome to America….

What lots of people online are saying is that that these routine screenings are often too aggressive, too disruptive, often rude and often based on nothing more than a surname or a home city. And the response from some US bloggers is that America should do whatever it wants to make sure it’s safe.

Hands off SRK…

And then there’s the issue of whether the border guards should have known who he was and waved him through. Plenty of Indian bloggers seem affronted that their hero should have been put through this. You get the impression if it had happened to any old person they wouldn’t be worried.

If celebrities are the royalty of the new century, should we treat them accordingly?

126 Responses to “On air: Does America need to treat visitors with more respect?”

  1. 1 Ramesh, India
    August 17, 2009 at 15:05

    I don’t they have shown any disrespect to King Khan. What the actor was saying that when asked about the reason, in his words
    “… They kept telling me your name is common… and I was too polite to ask common to what,”
    and then
    US authorities had denied that the procedure they followed with the Indian actor had anything to do with his name and described it as mere “inspection,” attributing it to the delay in the arrival of his baggage.

    Well, if my luggage contains a handgun, or bomb or something like that, I can surely be stopped, but for my luggage not arriving?? Doesn’t it sound ridiculous?

    Very much laughable incident. Nothing to be upset over the security checks, though. But the muslim community may think otherwise, if the immigration officials are stopping people because of their muslim names.

  2. 2 NSC London
    August 17, 2009 at 15:21

    ^Agreed with this fellow above.

    I think airline security in general is a bit excessive, particularly considering they do very little to manage the gaping holes that allow people with criminal records to work as baggage handlers and operations staff.

    I’m American, I’ve got one of those classically “whitey” surnames and I get felt up by random security staff at airports about once a month (Gatwick, you are the worse offender – that woman owes me dinner).

    I feel bad for this guy but I’m not sure what he went through is really that extreme.

  3. August 17, 2009 at 15:26

    The US shouldn’t become xenophobic and paranoiac due to 9/11 attacks. Visitors shouldn’t be suspected just because of their look or name. They too should get ready for any treatment they can receive in the land of the free as long as they are willing to be there.

    The US is already imposing draconian measures on nationals from different Arab and Muslim countries. It warns its nationals, from time to time ,not to visit certain countries only if it is imperatives. People wishing to visit the USA who feel they can be subjected to “humiliating” screening” shouldn’t come unless it is imperative. For tourism, there are many breath-taking areas around the world where visitors are welcome as long as they have valid travelling documents.

    The US has the right to open or close its doors to whomever it wants. People who are sensitive about their dignity should avoid it as long as they feel unwelcome.

  4. August 17, 2009 at 15:31

    Thanks WHYS for filtering out the 2 distinct questions that need be addressed following this incident:
    – Does America need to treat visitors with more respect?
    – Do certain stars deserve different treatment?
    Unfortunately many of our own ‘esteemed’ Indian columnists are addressing only the latter.

    My answers:

    Having lived in the US for 6 years and traveled in different counties I am leaning towards a yes for the 1st question you ask. No where else (Canada, Norway, Singapore, Japan, China, UK) have immigration officers treated me the way US officers have. There seems to be a need for a change in attitude, not a compromise on security procedures.
    The debate on ‘random’ screening has been around in the US for a while now, even portrayed in Hollywood flicks such as ‘Harold and Kumar’.

    That said your 2nd question is a certain No for me. Rules are rules and it applies to everyone irrespective of one’s riches or fame. On more rational grounds, who says stars are impervious to social conditioning. It is conceivable (may be not probable) that stars are influenced by radical elements, why then should a country give them a free pass to create instability in their land.

  5. 5 sabbir azam
    August 17, 2009 at 15:32

    This incident demonstrates again how US authority(not mass people) showing,what we say in legal term a racial profiling towards muslims.As this was the case with Shahrukh Khan one of the most revered celebrity in the prevailing world we came to know this through media,but such type of incidents are happening every day in US and which do not get media focusing.
    Hope US authority should change thier attitude towards us as we live in the same world and we ve only one world,there is no division.


    sabbir azam

  6. 6 patti in cape coral
    August 17, 2009 at 15:33

    I didn’t know who Mr. Khan was until this story, to be honest. In any case, the need for security checks may have a logical explanation, but rudeness does not. Security people should be polite to everyone, not just stars or famous people. Ideally, everyone would just be polite and cooperative all around, passengers, movie stars, and security personnel. I don’t understand why Mr. Khan had to call a politician in his own country to be released? If the security people were investigating him for such a long time, they surely found out who he was and knew he was no threat?

  7. 7 Jessica in NYC
    August 17, 2009 at 15:33

    Celebrities should absolutely not get special treatment, but if you’re a western celebrity you will be treated above the law, ironically, for security reasons like avoiding a mod of people trying to get autographs.

  8. August 17, 2009 at 15:37

    Its okay to go through the check as long as it was a random pick (may be it was).
    But probably the last event with an american airline and Mr Kalam, makes any Indian to doubt about the motives. If they can do it in Indian mainland (its illigal to check former president in India)..what should make a common Indian to think it was normal in USA?

  9. 9 Lamii Kpargoi
    August 17, 2009 at 15:41

    Don’t think that anyone should have problems with being screened, even aggressively at any airport in these days of terrorism. I certainly have not had any problems with intrusive searches or interrogations at any airport.

    I had to go to the United States in April after staying a month in the Netherlands. The airline attendant who was processing me wanted to know what I had been doing in the Netherlands. When I told her I was there following a training course, she asked me to present documents that proved this. As irritated as I was, I complied. What did my activities in Europe have to do with my visit to the United States? I can tell you that none of the other passengers that preceded me were screened that way.

  10. 10 steve
    August 17, 2009 at 15:43

    In 1991, the first time i had ever been to Europe, I arrived at Charles DeGaulle airport in Paris, and the passport control person was of middle eastern descent. He lookat at my passport, and American passport, with no stamps in it, because I had never used it, looked at my name, then told me I’m an Israeli, that I have to admit I’m an Israeli, and demanded I say something in Hebrew. I told him I’m an American, I was born in the USA as my passport says. Then he started shouting that I was an Israeli, he started frothing at the mouth, and I had to get the teacher from my exchange program to talk to him, and basically what happened was that he was temporarily relieved of his duties, and walked away screaming. I got no apology whatsoever from the French officials, they just stamped my passport and let me in. I was pretty shaken after that.

    Also, the CBP officials can be pretty tough with Americans. I have been detained for hours at the US/Canadian border simply because I was using a rental car.

    • August 17, 2009 at 16:38

      @ Steve,
      You aren’t the only one to suffer such treatment. Last year, a former Moroccan minister who is also a close friend of the King of Morocco was detained at Charle De Gaulle airport because he was travelling with an ordinary passport. When he told the custom officers who he was. They grew even more suspicious of him. It was only when he contacted the Moroccan embassy that they released him and subsequently received an apology from from the French interior minister.

      You may also have heard the story of a Moroccan baby who was refused entry to the USA two years ago because of the name he bore was on the watch-list. It was only after legal action that he was allowed to join his Moroccan parents.

      In short, there are curious and nasty incidents not only in US airports but in others.

  11. 12 Dinka Aliap Chawul.Kampala,Uganda
    August 17, 2009 at 15:46

    As someone from secular country, I think Shah Rukh Khan arent purely Muslim name as i understood but they`re traditionally Asian names which have been modernize to sound Islamic.So i there4 raise this question whether …..Public figures are bound to the security check up in wherever they go regardless of materials that they travel with?

  12. 13 Bob in Queensland
    August 17, 2009 at 15:48

    You ask two very separate questions.

    No, celebrities should not receive any special treatment when travelling to America. However, US border and airport security personnel have a very bad reputation (deserved in my experience of many trips to NYC) and should probably learn to treat everyone better. Rightly or wrongly, they are perceived as power-mad, humourless bullies.

  13. 14 Count Iblis
    August 17, 2009 at 15:49

    If you look at this from only a security point of view, then you see that there is a big flaw in the system that puts the US at grave risk. Al Qa’ida has recruited Western people and they could therefore easily enter the US.

    If you are Bin Laden, you would think of sending two groups on the same plane. One is the real group of Western Al Qa’ida operatives all with non-Muslim names who opt for non-halal food on the plane, and the other group consist of people with Muslim names that are on the watchlist. Their job is to keep the security officials busy for a long time, making sure everyone else will be waved through.

  14. 15 Anthony
    August 17, 2009 at 15:58

    Anyone who looks Middle Eastern or Indian/Pakastani should be ready to get messed with at the Airport. If I were to fly into Iran or North Korea for some reason, I’d expect the same thing.

    Maybe to the extent that some get messed with (like anything over 2 hours, I’ve heard about 10-12 hours in some cases) is rediculous. Check your system, check their bags, question them for a bit, and get on with it.

    As far as stars getting treated differently, is there anyone who thinks that this won’t happen? Just a part of our culture.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  15. 16 Roy, Washington DC
    August 17, 2009 at 16:05

    Given that this happened in a US airport, I would chalk it up to the joke that our airport security has become. Not only are people viewed as potential terrorists for no good reason, the screeners are often quite rude (I have personally experienced this in the past).

    I’m flying home later this evening from a vacation. Hopefully I won’t be detained or selected for “extra screening” for a made-up reason.

  16. 17 Leo from Kiev
    August 17, 2009 at 16:07

    I fully agree with the US bloggers, that the US Customs and moreover the USCIS should do everything possible for the US homeland security. If the visitors are flocking to the US for any possible private purposes, they should definitely abide by the domestic rules of the host country, implemented for their safety as well while in the US. Indeed, with the multiple array of cultures, traditions and levels of civilization, americans have the right to restrict access to any alien, and I wish to compliment everyday tough job of Customs officers and general Honeland Security personnel!

  17. 18 Peter In Jamaica
    August 17, 2009 at 16:12

    This is not about America treating visitors with more respect but to give the same respect that they would expect their citizens to get when they travel aboard from any countries Immigration Department. So it should not matter who you are, Movie Star or the average Joe the treatment should and must remain the same.

  18. 19 anu_D
    August 17, 2009 at 16:13

    There are 2 issues here…..should stars or VIPs be treated diffrent….NO…I don’t think so…because when it’s a question of security screening, by defnition same standard has to apply to all.

    I have been stopped, screened, questioned and delayed at a number of US airports innumerable times…..it happens to many men and women with an Asian / Arabic look….so SRK is no diffrent

    Can American immigration authorities be more respectful…yes defnitely….but not limited to stars…but generally to all visitors.

    Actually more then respectful…they can be act more logically. American authorities are extremely mechanised and procdural and exude little common logic often times when questioning or screening people

  19. 20 kate in NC
    August 17, 2009 at 16:15

    It’s sad that it takes an incident like what happened with Mr. Khan for some people to see what is going on.

    As an American, I’m torn. I understand the need for security, especially perceived security. That being said, last month when my family was flying from Canada into the US, my sister had a bottle of bright yellow Mountain Dew that was in her purse that made it through security.

    Racial profiling is atrocious, and needs to stop. As is evidenced by the recent arrests of seven men in North Carolina, the “ringleader” of the supposed cell was an American-born, white man who had converted to Islam earlier in life. He would most likely not be stopped based on racial profiling. It goes without saying that 99.9% of the world’s Muslims are peace-loving people going through their lives, unfairly categorized by the world’s reactions to the extreme actions of a few in the name of their religion, and to racially profile (what does a “Muslim” look like, anyway? What does a “terrorist” look like?) is wrong, no question about it.

    After living two years in Morocco, falling so in love with the people and culture that I’m moving back next month, and seeing the warmth, acceptance, hospitality, and genuine openness of people there, it makes me see red when Americans, my compatriots, are so xenophobic.

    • 21 Ramesh, India
      August 17, 2009 at 16:59

      Though the US officials were denying it, they are surely suspecting some of muslim names at check points. If Obama is a Britsh or french national, he would surely be suspected by them at entry point because of familiarity of his name with Osama!

    • 22 Shaun in Halifax
      August 17, 2009 at 17:08

      I completely empathize with you about the ridiculous security measures. While flying domestically this month, my carry-on luggage was given a thorough rummaging-through by security and they confiscated (among other things) a tube of lip chap. However they DID allow me to carry on my laptop lock which is basically 6 feet of 1/2 inch braided steel cable.

      One wonders just what kind of devious tricks I would have gotten up to with the lip chap had my nefarious plot to moisten lips not been foiled…..

  20. 23 steve/oregon
    August 17, 2009 at 16:18

    Random checks are nessicary and should continue. This man may have felt the officers were rude without reviewing his own behavior. Visitors often conduct themselves in ways that could be considered as rude without realizing it. From an enforcement position when people are rude to me about the job i must do then i am rude back. Just because this guy is some bollywood celebrity does not grant him any special treatment. Hollywood stars should not recieve special treatment either

    • August 18, 2009 at 15:33

      US immigratrion officials are known world over as paranoid, ill-mannered and poker-faced. One can carry out one’s duties with firmness but be polite at the same time. No one in the execution of his duty has the right to be rude and highhanded as American officials are.

      I am a British lawyer with brown skin. Twenty years ago I decided not to visit America for the rest of my life. I wish them well, but I would like to keep out of their way.

  21. 25 Elias
    August 17, 2009 at 16:23

    The point is the border guards at Newwark airport in New Jersey had no idea who he was, he may be well known in his country but he is certainly not known in other countries, I for example never heard of him.

    America has every reason to take precautions against terrorists and people who visit, and any suspicion by the border guards is understandable considereing the past experience of terrorist acts. They should be allowed to continue being vigilant to avoid any acts of future terrorism.

  22. 26 Tony from Singapura
    August 17, 2009 at 16:30

    I am a regular business traveler to the USA, I hate it.

    The security screenings are packed into buildings that are not fit for purpose, and the people operating the security are obviously lacking in intelligence and it is true that they are incredibly rude.

    One would think that with the high rate of unemployment in the States that they should be able to recruit a higher quality of security personnel.

  23. 27 Tom K in Mpls
    August 17, 2009 at 16:37

    My opinion on the two questions, special treatment, never, more respect… not really.The US reaction to the Sept 11,2000 attacks was domestically, a way over the top , knee jerk reaction. This has become clear after analyzing the available FBI records from before the attack and CIA statements.

    Because of this we have a huge number of not really qualified, under paid workers that typically have no related prior experience. This leads to a lack of professionalism. I think tighter standards applied to hiring and personnel evaluations will help enormously. As for now, the problems apply equally to US citizens and foreign travelers. The case of Cat Stevens ( I forget his Muslim name ) points this out. Current ID methods are so poor agents are forced to rely on the stereotypes of appearance and names as a starting point for screening. Personally, I have seen no results to indicate the current level of screening is justified.

    • 28 leti in palma
      August 17, 2009 at 17:19

      @Tom K in Mpls: Cat Stevens moslem name is Yussuf Islam.

      I think the americans have a slight problem with their paranoia levels and their security guys seem to be employed for their brawn rather than their intelligence and exquisite manners.
      As for arresting the actor from India, can they really be blamed for not knowing who he is?
      After all,Bob Dylan was arrested in the states for walking about not long ago, and the arresting officers didn’t have a clue who HE was. (snigger I rest my case..)
      But if there’s a rule, it should be a rule for everyone, not different for “famous” people.

  24. 29 Dan, outside Boston
    August 17, 2009 at 16:40

    I would say that TSA and Customs personnel need to treat EVERYONE with more respect, not just visitors to the US. I am a US citizen, born and raised near Boston, MA. The worst hassle I ever received anywhere was when I returned to the US from my honeymoon in Britain in early 2001, during the “hoof and mouth” scare. The customs and agriculture inspectors were ready to strip-search me because I made the mistake of bringing home a Cadbury milk chocolate bar that I’d purchased in Harrod’s. This happened at Logan airport in Boston… which if you recall was the origin of two of the four planes involved in the 9/11 attacks. Too bad Atta and crew weren’t armed with chocolate bars instead of box cutters. A lot has changed since 9/11, but the generally poor quality of airport staffing and training is not among those things. I’ll take Heathrow any day over any major American airport.

  25. 30 Asif Saleem khan
    August 17, 2009 at 16:49

    I think if the most famous Star of India deserves such extra ordinary checking then the same security treatement should be given to Us officials when they visit Inidia or pakistan .Are they paying respect to our Star in this way .I agree there is a need of security measure but the level of intensity should be eased with our stars and officials as they are our ideals.United states is just taking benifit of its power thats all no country in the world has the Power to stand against its decisions.The need of the time is to realize that US administration should pay respect to our stars they are not the black sheeps.Their respect is the respect of our country.Problem is that Sharukh Khan is a Muslim and reason for this rediculous behaviour is also of the same scenario. Muslims all over the world are facing the same treatemnets Even paksitani officials on their governmental visit are fully checked.Pakistan now adays is facing troubles only because of USA and in return they are treating like this \
    SO SAD …………………

  26. 31 steve
    August 17, 2009 at 16:49

    Don’t ignore the gender issue. Males are given much more difficult times at border crossings and in airports. Had he been a female, this situation probably would never have happened. I’ve been all over the world, and Canada, UK, Australia and notorious for treating males as suspects. I’ve literally had to bring pay stubs, my bar membership card, business cards, all so they believe I’m actually employed as something other than a drug runner.

    • 32 patti in cape coral
      August 17, 2009 at 17:22

      @ Steve – I have to admit that in my experience, this is true. My daughter and son often travel together, and my son always gets singled out for special checking, I think because he looks very middle eastern, even though my kids are Irish/Colombian. This is despite the fact that he is very obviously mentally disabled. My daughter, a blond, blue-eyed 19-year-old girl never gets checked, and of the two, she would be the one most capable of mischief (not that she would!). I have to say, though, I’m not sure if it’s related to gender, or looks.

    • 33 leti in palma
      August 17, 2009 at 17:27

      I have to disagree with you there steve.
      As a woman who frequently (mostly) travels alone, I have been stopped, searched,even strip-searched so often that its funny.
      Once I sat watching a guy rootling embarassedly through my dirty underwear, and I asked him “why do I always get stopped?” he admitted it was BECAUSE I was a WOMAN TRAVELLING ALONE.
      (so now you know girls..)

  27. 34 rob z.
    August 17, 2009 at 16:54

    Most people who do airport security are not paid well and trainning is not thorough for the job.
    The creation of the Department of Homeland Security,was a knee-jerk reaction;and not every well thought out.So the end result is a mess of agencies
    and under trainned staff.
    One more thing to remember,when the people of the USA get scared and depressed;the right-wing takes advantage of the situation to scare people more.
    And when the right rises,so does racism.
    Ro in Florida.

    • 35 Ramesh, India
      August 17, 2009 at 17:18

      @Rob Z! You are reminding me Bush jr. who appeared to me not a right winger but far right to right wingers!!

  28. 36 Tony from Singapura
    August 17, 2009 at 16:57

    Well all of this screening is a waste of time. Remember that it wasn’t until the British fellow tried to blow up his shoes on the aircraft that they started checking for shoe bombers at the terminal security.

    So the security people obviously never thought of it until this fellow came along – this shows they only test for that which is known.

    I am waiting for the day some fellow tries it out with a stick of gelignite hidden in the back hole. Once that happens we will all have to bend over for the latex glove security check… some may even enjoy it.

  29. 37 Methusalem
    August 17, 2009 at 17:00

    No! No special treatment! Shah Rukh Khan’s reaction reminds me of the “Prof. Gates’ affair” in Boston. I also don’t understand the interference of the Indian government in this case.

  30. 38 DOLAPO AINA
    August 17, 2009 at 17:03

    Isn’t it glaring, some of the American government agencies are over zealous in their post 9/11 security checks? What surprises me is that they harass people who have no clue as to terrorism but the real terrorists most often that not slip through their high-tech security checks.

    We all know these terrorists are equally cunning and smart as their pursuers. So, they should take it easy with travelers. Are they trying to tell us that there are no potential or ready made terrorists in America keeping a low profile?

    Everyone should be given the same decent treatments at American airports and the authorities shouldn’t resort to lying or what officials now call spinning.

    Dolapo Aina,
    Lagos, Nigeria

  31. 39 Julia in Portland
    August 17, 2009 at 17:11

    I think that the US airport security policy is inherently flawed. It gives some people a false sense of security and it harasses others, doing both while not accomplishing much.

    I’m hoping that in the future we will improve our systems and not operate under a big sense of paranoia, creating a fair, safe and comfortable travel environment.

    BTW – Racial profiling in policing, travel and anywhere else just isn’t right.

  32. August 17, 2009 at 17:12

    the problem we have is that we think superstars ,top models and even prominent persons are beyond the law and should be treated differently.the whole world is no longer safe and every persons is not too senior to be exempted from security screen.

  33. 41 steve
    August 17, 2009 at 17:13

    @ Rob

    Let me get this straight, because of the economy and scariness of the times, the US is turning right wing? I supppose that’s why we elected Obama? And this happened under Obama’s watch as well????? I thought he was supposed to solve all of our problems magically?

  34. 42 Shaun in Halifax
    August 17, 2009 at 17:18

    Do certain stars deserve different treatment?

    No. Do they often receive it? Yes. The world is, and always shall be, run by the golden rule: “Whoever has the gold, makes the rules.” The rich hold all the money therefore they hold all the power. We’d like to see a rich person treated the same as everybody else, but the sad truth is there will always be somebody with enough power or influence to warrant preferential treatment.

    Does America need to treat visitors with more respect?

    Yes an no. One should realize that while traveling in America, one is a visitor and guest, and a certain phrase should be followed: ‘when you are in my house, you will obey my rules.’ I may not understand or even agree with the motives of our neighbours to the south, but I will put up with them because I am a guest in their country.

    And as for border officials, let’s not split hairs: it is their job to hassle people. They may couch it as security or screening, but when you get right down to it, these people are actively inconveniencing people on a daily basis. Which is likely to hack off quite a few travelers. Think of the toll it would take on you if you had to be screamed at every day by irate travelers merely for doing your job? It might just make you develop a nasty, hard exterior to insulate yourself from the inevitable. We like to think that security takes pleasure in making the rest of us miserable, but they’re humans too.

  35. 43 steve
    August 17, 2009 at 17:22

    People are confusing issues here. This wasn’t a TSA screening thing, for safety issues, it was going through immigration/customs, completely different, once he landed in Newark. Did he have a proper visa? Each time you go through Immigration, the official determines whether you are there for a proper purpose and whether you are likely to leave on your own initiative. You have an obligation to prove that you intend to leave, people are often detained and asked questions, this guy thinks he should be immune from that simply because he’s an actor? I’ve been detained for much longer, and I’m a US citizen. He needs to stop whining and act like an adult. This happens to men travelling to all sorts of countries. You get grilled and get treated poorly no matter where you travel, though in Europe they usually don’t ask any questions and stamp your passport. Go to the UK and you get grilled.

  36. 44 gary
    August 17, 2009 at 17:23

    Celebrity and Royalty are equally useless concepts. Countless contributors to humanity’s welfare lie buried in unmarked graves, because the public concerns itself mostly with self-important buffoons whose lives are spent in essentially useless ways. As case in point, consider the inventions of your countryman, Mr. Henry Maudslay. It is safe to say almost no human remains untouched by his inventions; but the vast majority of your respondents will need to google his name to understand this.

  37. 46 Tony from Singapura
    August 17, 2009 at 17:27

    I do feel some small amount of compassion for the security personnel at the USA airports.

    The problem is that the immigration forms have a question asking if you intend to commit acts of terrorism in the USA.

    The terrorists always tick no to this question and as a result of their dishonesty, we all have to go through the checks.

    They have also been known to stretch the truth a bit when answering the question about “having committed acts of moral terpitude”

  38. 47 steve
    August 17, 2009 at 17:34

    @ Patti

    It’s definitely gender… Especially if you are single, they single you out, whereas single females aren’t given that scrutiny. You’re presumed to be a criminal if you are single and a male. I know women that have gone to visit people, didn’t even have addresses of where they’d be staying, and get let right in. if I so much as admitted I knew anyone, I know I’m getting searched. I was detained at the US side of Niagara Falls for having a rental car. I was held for probably 3 hours while they completely strip searched my car. They couldn’t contemplate why i would want to go to see Niagara Falls. Had I been female, i would never have been stopped. Fortunately it’s no longer an issue as I don’t ever have to go through US customs again other than to hand in the declaration printout as part of the Global Entry program. They know I’m not a criminal because I’m in that program, and same for Canada. But if I go to countries like the UK, or Canada, I realize I’m going to be totally grilled and presumed to be a drug runner until I prove otherwise. It’s something I accept, but fortunately I don’t go to those countries very often. It’s kind of funny how they expect you to be clean shaven after you’ve been sitting on a flight that is 24 hours, if not, you’re a drug runner… So I would advice men to shave on long flights, even if it means getting cuts due to turbulence, because it might save you from the presumption of being a drug runner.

    • 48 Chrissy in Portland
      August 17, 2009 at 18:35

      @ steve

      I must be the exception then Steve because when I was single I traveled to the UK and I was stopped and questioned.

      I don’t have a problem with being randomly stopped. I have a problem with being mistreated!

  39. August 17, 2009 at 17:49

    US authorities need to show more sensitivity especially when blatant acts of racism are in evidence. This high profile case where a well-known Indian film-star is subjected to a two hour interrogation is beyond belief. One would expect US immigration officials to be more hospitable especially with the new Obama Administration sending warmer signals. But if gaffs like this persist, America’s image abroad will remain tainted! In the 21st century one would expect courteous hospitality at all American ports of entry. Even an ex-President of India was treated discourteously. Not all visitors are terrorists!

  40. 50 Mike in Seattle
    August 17, 2009 at 18:06

    The issue hear that is that airport security in the United States is an invasive, embarassing, and a complete waste of time.

    It shouldn’t matter if this guy is a movie star, no one should be treated like this.

  41. 51 steve
    August 17, 2009 at 18:10

    This topic is hilarious, all the clueless comments from people. In the US, American celebrities get arrested at airports all of the time. Our celebrities often are in the news because of their arrests. We treat even celebrities like we would treat other people. Poor baby was detained for an hour and he cried to the media. How did he even make a phonecall given you’re not allowed to use a phone while you’re in the customs room? How did he call the Indian Embassy?

  42. 52 B Main in USA
    August 17, 2009 at 18:12

    Since 9-11 we have gone to extremes in security because no airport guard wants to be known as the person who let the next 9-11 type terrorist slip through the cracks.

    And no, celebrites are not exempt.

  43. 53 T
    August 17, 2009 at 18:12

    You can say that the States needs to treat people with more respect. But sadly, what “foreigners” think doesn’t matter. If Brad Pitt was detained, people would be outraged. Why? Because it’s the old we-are-superior-Americans thing.

    • 54 Tom K in Mpls
      August 17, 2009 at 19:54

      If Brad Pitt (or others) was detained, the paparazzi would go into a feeding frenzy and most citizens would probably not know or care.

  44. 55 Melissa
    August 17, 2009 at 18:14

    Most American’s don’t even know who this guy is. Americans could care less if Brad Pitt was detained. They were just doing their jobs. What is two hours out of your life just to make our country safe?

  45. 56 Poonma Bishnoi
    August 17, 2009 at 18:14

    Well It’s fine to screening the visitors in America but the religion should not be the criteria for detain.
    A person questioned Just because having the name ‘Khan’ It’s just wasting time and loosing faith among people of world.
    America should understand this fact.

  46. 57 steve
    August 17, 2009 at 18:14

    I’m curious why there was no media circus or WHYS about me being detained for 3 hours at the US/Canadian border? Could it be perhaps I didn’t cry to the media, and didn’t think I’m entitled to be like Royalty? Poor guy was questioned for an hour. I was locked in a room while they completely tore my car apart. And I didn’t get an hour WHYS show dedicated to me?

  47. 58 Stephen in Portland/Oregon
    August 17, 2009 at 18:17

    The TSA don’t profile, they are rude to all people no matter what creed or color you are. Wanabee cops on a power trip.

  48. 59 Kathryn Anne in Trinidad
    August 17, 2009 at 18:19

    Until celebrities start to travel with dilpomatic passports they should be screened in a manner similar to normal pepole. However America has become very very tactless, cold and rude with thier immigration and customs policies and procedures. They (theU.S.) needs to address this issue

  49. 60 steve
    August 17, 2009 at 18:19

    Given virtually nobody has heard of his name before this in the US, I’m starting to believe this was a publicity stunt, as Americans know he exists now and might watch that movie, My name is Khan..

    If not, what kind of spoiled brat calls the international press after being questioned for an hour?

  50. 61 Steve in Portland
    August 17, 2009 at 18:20

    Americans and foreigners alike suffer this ridiculousness every day. After the hysteria caused by 9/11, the airports in the U.S. have turned into a place where you are allowed to be harassed and violated in the name of security.

  51. 62 margaret
    August 17, 2009 at 18:21

    Well I happen to be a Bollywood fan so I’ve heard of Shah Ruhk Khan and seen a number of his films. I’m sorry he had to go through that. However, the average American has not heard of him I’m sure. Many Americans are so trapped in their own little worlds and enjoy rather willful ignorance of the rest of the world, so it’s to be expected. I know people who have never traveled more than a few hundred miles from the place of their birth and they and their extended families all live in the same little geographic area. I’ve traveled the world with a military career including living in Asia and Europe; I was born in Europe to military parents. Your perspective dramatically changes when you understand there is a big world out there and it’s not white and it doesn’t necessarily speak English. Sadly, for all this “cracking down” I don’t think air travel is that much safer–unless you fly EL AL!

    Margaret Tacoma, WA USA

  52. 63 Nelson
    August 17, 2009 at 18:21

    In reguard to Newark an American would be treated the same. They can be a bit rude there.

  53. 64 Parag Deb
    August 17, 2009 at 18:23

    I agree with Americans friends that homeland security is important. My simple question is how would Americans react if Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie would have frisked extensively in Indian Airports. In fact these two celebrities came to India. I guess they had a different experience in India.

  54. 65 Chrissy in Portland
    August 17, 2009 at 18:24

    I am an American and I’ve been married to a UK citizen for the past 7 years and I can honestly say that since marrying my husband we have yet to have a trip abroad (either during departure or re-entry) where we haven’t experienced some kind of hassle or mistreatment. I understand the security issues, but those issues in no way excuse treating people with disdain and rudeness. There has to be a way to get the job done without treating people so badly!

  55. 66 Jitan C
    August 17, 2009 at 18:24

    It is a demographic issue – In india film stars and especially super stars are given more publicity and importance then sports persons or political heros. they are treated next to gods!!!

    The outcry that was created for Abdul Kalam wasnt even marginial as compared to that for Shahrukh Khan. The ideologies of the people of India seem to be so badly confused – Sharukh is just an actor not a true indian Hero…

  56. 67 Mary from US
    August 17, 2009 at 18:26

    For sure the US needs to improve upon their security process – but those of us that are US citizens get the same scrutiny. My father, who is of Irish decent, was placed on the no-fly list simply because of his last name – he had to petition to be removed! After 9.11 I flew quite often for business and was pulled out of line nearly EVERY time! You have to learn to deal with the system, as awful as it may be.

    • 68 Ramesh, India
      August 17, 2009 at 18:42

      @Mary, why should anyone learn to deal with a stupid system? Take for example, Random checking. Wouldn’t it allow terrorists to sneak out? Or do the security people assume that random checking is enough to discourage terrorists from trying to get into US? If the system is not effective, it should be addressed. No use pretending of having the best system and boasting that they are following rules!!

  57. 69 Prajwal,Nepal
    August 17, 2009 at 18:26

    Is this because it was Saharukh Khan who got detained? There are thousands of Saharukhs who must have gone through this. Saharukh.Khan …it was you this time around.Bad luck and welcome to ground reality. Next time ..try queuing up.

  58. 70 sumit
    August 17, 2009 at 18:27

    I was just wondering what would happen if (citing the same security concern and the idea that everybody should be treated equally) Obama is held in delhi airport for an hour for questioning …..

  59. 71 steve
    August 17, 2009 at 18:27

    Americans don’t get special treatment when travelling abroad. I’ve gotten flagged for extra security checks. I’ve been grilled by passport control in the UK and Australia, and had all of my bags searched in Japan, and I had to explain what each and every thing in my bags were.

  60. 72 steve
    August 17, 2009 at 18:30

    Will someone PLEASE explain whether this was TSA, and he was preparing to board a flight, or was it Border Protection/Customs after an arrival?

  61. 73 mers in Oregon
    August 17, 2009 at 18:30

    I have American citizenship and my mother has British citizenship. When traveling together we have each been detained in the other country and grilled because we have different last names! Annoying, yes, but hardly an outrage. I have been subject to very friendly and extremely rude TSA agents while traveling within the US, but what can you do? When I make the decision to travel these days I know what I’m getting myself into and I don’t expect stars of any nationality to get different treatment. Additionally, the rudest treatment I have received is when flying into Canada–weird, but I know many US citizens who have experienced that also.

  62. 74 Robert Macala
    August 17, 2009 at 18:31

    As long as American Soldiers are mucking about in the Middle East, and America continues to support Israeli expansion in and around Palestine, we are going to
    have problems with “the chickens coming home to roost” We continue to talk
    about effects, not the affects. What are the reasons for “terrorism?” Don’t you see
    the connection between American Foreign policy and problems with international air travel. American Foreign Policy is not making friends oversees, in fact, we are
    making more enemies…

  63. 75 Diane
    August 17, 2009 at 18:31

    I’m an American, my husband is English. Whenever we travel to England, I’m treated rudely and with suspicion. I’ve traveled to over 20 countries, and the borders are always difficult.

  64. 76 T
    August 17, 2009 at 18:31

    The no-fly list needs to be drastically improved. One reason? Too many problems with common sounding names. Sen. Edward Kennedy was flagged at an airport for being on the list. A 6’2″ heavyset Caucausian guy over 60 is a “terrorist”? Please….

  65. 77 Nayan from Canada
    August 17, 2009 at 18:33

    The issue is not about screening and/or security — everyone accepts that no one is above the safety of a people or a country. The issue is whether basic dignity is maintained or not, and whether question border on the impossible to reasonably answer. Thats what causes the indignation.

  66. 78 T
    August 17, 2009 at 18:35

    Have any WHYS staff ever been detained when visiting the States? If yes, how did they deal with it?

  67. 79 Chrissy in Portland
    August 17, 2009 at 18:36

    My husband’s name (which is fairly common) is on the “No Fly List”. After several delays the airlines informed us that there was a form we could fill out and we could send to TSA along with evidence that he is who he says he is. They then sent us a letter that was supposed to help identify who he is when we fly to try to minimize delays. Does it help? Not really. We’ve gone on holidays to Mexico only to arrive without our baggage and when it finally did arrive 24 hrs later, our bags were turned completely inside out with all the contents stuffed back in. Nothing like going to an all inclusive resort and spending the first day and a half in your traveling clothes!

  68. 80 Steve T.
    August 17, 2009 at 18:36

    Bob Dylan, an icon of my generation, was recently stopped and asked for identification, and required to ‘prove’ who he was while simply walking through a neighborhood and reported as ‘suspicious’. I have been treated brusqely by European, Mexican, and American security alike. My mother in law, aged 80, has been wanded and asked to submit to extraordinary exam, simply because she was chosen randomly. It is a fact of life, and not an ‘American’ phenomenon. There was nothing done deliberately to insult Mr. Kahn. His ‘number’ simply came up.

  69. 81 Naomi
    August 17, 2009 at 18:37

    I’m a US citizen and am consistently detained at security checkpoints, but only in US airports for domestic flights.
    Nowhere else in the world have I endured such aggravation and humiliation as the last time I was trying to leave this country. I was forced to strip down my leggings and camisole in front of all the others in the security line even though I had no metal or anything else unusual on my body or in my luggage that would prompt this.
    I’m not going to go so far as to say all TSA officers are paranoid persons who will jump all over anyone with the slightest tinge of olive in their skin and unconventional last names, but it might be worth re-evaluating how they are taught to deal with passengers.

  70. August 17, 2009 at 18:39

    No, nobody should have special treatment.
    But how many US Citizens are being eye scanned or finger printed coming to Europe or other places in the world? I think Europe should start these messurement just for US citizens.

  71. 83 steve
    August 17, 2009 at 18:40

    I go to Amsterdam Schipol a lot, and when I’m in line to go through customs, I’ve noticed that virtually every African gets extra scrutiny, they are grilled for much longer than I am, as they look at my passport, stamp it, and don’t ask me anything, whereas the Africans in line get absolutely grilled. Why isn’t that international headline making? It takes it to happen to a celebrity to make the news?

  72. 84 steve
    August 17, 2009 at 18:42

    @ Mers

    If you travel a lot to canada, look into joining Canpass or Nexus, preferably Nexus, as you bypass immigration on both sides. I’ve found the Canadian officials to be incredibly rude, so I no longer have to deal with them. You’re presumed to be drug runner unless you prove otherwise.

  73. 85 halfnots
    August 17, 2009 at 18:43

    US customs agents treat everyone like animals. Every time I come back from Europe or Canada they are terribly rude, unprofessional, and second-rate in every way. Of course there are exceptions but they are few. They don’t single people out, they treat everyone with disdain.

  74. 86 Chris
    August 17, 2009 at 18:46

    Senator Ted Kennedy was on the “no fly list” and was detained by the TSA.


    Maybe the rugby player should realize the TSA is a necessary pain in the ass. Dont forget the 9/11 hijackers flew first class and appeared very professional.

  75. 87 Ken
    August 17, 2009 at 18:52

    I’m a normal American with a common European last name, Barton, and have had a terrible time driving to Canada from Wshington state some years back. I was stopped, and my late model car was quarantined and search as I and my friend were questioned repeatedly in small interrogation rooms. We were asked the same questions every time, and every time we cooperated politely to the best of our abilities, never getting angry or insulting. As we were finally allowed to continue an hour and a half later I quietly said, “If this is what I’ll have to go through each visit, I don’t think I’ll be coming to Canada again anytime soon” to which one of the Canadians yelled loudly for everyone to hear, “then don’t ever come back” to which the other employees laughed. It was years ago, but I’ve never forgotten, nor have I gone back since.

  76. 88 Keith- Ohio
    August 17, 2009 at 18:54

    I am a white male, and I have been screened at airports several times. However, I acknowledge that someone with darker skin or a more exotic look is more likely to get stopped at airports.

    People in charge of screening at these locations are usually advised to select screening at random, but many are advised to screen when they observe something out of the ordinary. Someone from another country with the baggage issue that Mr. Khan experienced is certainly unusual, and I would say it’s reasonable that the procedure was followed.

    According to the article, it sounds like Mr. Khan himself eventually acknowledged that the procedure, while unfortunate, needs to be followed. As to the outrage about a celebrity being detained; they do not get special treatment. News flash: Most Americans don’t know the names/features of Bollywood stars.

  77. 89 Jake in San Franciso
    August 17, 2009 at 18:54

    I’m a frequent business travelers. Air travel is increasingly a stressful situation. No one gives themselves the “extra time” recommended by airlines and airports in the US.

    I’ve seen people who gave themselves 30 minutes from the front door of SFO through security and onto the plane, inexperienced travelers asking why they’re being hassled for a pen knife because they don’t look like a terrorist.

    Security people aren’t required to be our friends. We’re not in McDonald’s and shouldn’t be asking for a “Have a nice day.”

    Imagine what it’s like to stand around all day dealing with people who are already in a stressful situation reacting badly to anything out of the ordinary. Every traveler knows whether or not they are a terrorist. Air travel generally requires a zen-like attitude, a deep breath at every turn. I think the unrealistic expectations of passengers is to blame for a lot of the perceived “rudeness.”

    • 90 cinnamon
      August 18, 2009 at 10:14

      i had a friend who used to sit around a desk in an uncomfortable chair and deal with all types of people from all types of backgrounds, some were obnoxious and rude, others arrogant and cocky, others humble and friendly, others fretting (chicken licken – sky is falling types). It wasn’t easy but it was her job, she used to treat all people with respect and dignity – rich, poor or in between, foreigner or national and while she had been taught about being customer friendly, mostly it was her personal conviction.
      Bottom line is – it’s about respecting the inherent dignity of another person. If your airport officials don’t like their jobs or it’s too stressful, they should quit and get a job where they deal with the most pleasurable beings on earth (and good luck to them with that.) They should not take it out on other nationals and call it ‘procedure’.

  78. 91 Ken
    August 17, 2009 at 18:54

    PS – The experience I just posted about just was before 911.

  79. 92 Keith- Ohio
    August 17, 2009 at 18:56

    An additional point:

    While airport security is certainly annoying, the outrage is laughable. “My word! You mean I have to take my shoes off at an airport a couple times a year? THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!”

    However- I think most “extensive” checks shouldn’t go beyond frisking and a thorough baggage check, as long as the visitor’s documents are all correct.

  80. 93 Lamii Kpargoi
    August 17, 2009 at 18:56

    I’ve not had any difficulty with US Border officers at their airports on the few occasions I’ve visited there. On the contrary, they’ve always been quite friendly and courteous. But a friend of mine had a similar experience like the Indian actor last year. He told me that he was kept at the airport for a long time after arriving and his luggage was thoroughly checked several times before he was allow to enter the US.

  81. 94 Sujit
    August 17, 2009 at 18:58

    I heard both sides of the argument. There are a whole bunch is issues which we are facing regarding terrorism, but finally it all boils down to maintaining dignity of your guests who are coming into your country and in a civilized manner.
    We as Indians are used to sectionalizing people for whatever reasons, be it social or political, because of which VIP treatment is implicitly received by those of higher stature.
    When we see other countries pulling plug on this regard when it comes to security reasons, I would expect us to do the same when we have people coming to India. Its all fair.

  82. 95 cuerpa
    August 17, 2009 at 19:02

    I’m a US citizen and have traveled a lot since 9-11. US customs & security have always been rude to me just about every time I’ve traveled.
    Some airports have been more friendly then others but it’s usually a negative experience and I’m traveling next month and I’m just expecting it to be negative.
    But their job is not to be customer service people. Ideally they would be hired by airline companies then I would use my buying power to fly a airline that treated me properly instead of being ran by the government.

  83. August 17, 2009 at 19:49

    Everyone must go through security procedures, celebrity or not!

    Of course some people will get checked more than others!

  84. 97 johnotu
    August 17, 2009 at 19:54

    It is not far fetched to say that there ill treatments to visitors is borne out of the 911 problem but unfortunately America still maintains a place in the hearts of many albeit her power of diplomacy and democracy. But America must improve on treatment met on visitors, especially Arabs and muslims.

  85. 98 Ed Evanko
    August 17, 2009 at 20:11

    I believe all visitors should be treated with respect. As for making exceptions to “Stars” I don’t believe they deserve anymore respect than anyone else.

  86. August 17, 2009 at 20:52

    Most screeners in usa are high school drop outs(fact). One need to use their common sense when dealing with people of that caliber. Mr. Khan….here it is..welcome the USA. We americans have been so arrogant and ignorant for so long that we forgot to swicth our gear from the days of our financial dominance to our current sinking state. Here is a friendly neighborhood reminder, we need every single visitor from any possible place on earth to swim our sinking selves.

  87. 100 Derek
    August 17, 2009 at 21:25

    I am a retired law enforcement officer and I am frequently selected for secondary examination. I am treated with as much disrespect as every other flyer. El Al offered 30 years ago to help airlines make security changes like securing cockpits so aircraft can’t be hijacked. Now we are paying the price for traveling: we all get treated like crooks. Maybe preflight drug tests, strip and body cavity searches for passengers will be next.

  88. August 17, 2009 at 22:17

    I am on regular flying list (it is automatic worldwide) and my name is distinctly Alqaida and Taliban Variety. I have never been stopped in USA America Europe and Asia India.SRK is also in regular Flying list. Listing in flying list commence each time you book a flight. Then via Travel Document it is double checked.It is absurd that SRK is not listed due to his travelling year round all the time . Glorification of Indian Embassy Staff for intervening was a premeditated Charade.

  89. 102 Tom Maguire
    August 17, 2009 at 22:55

    The US has all the info they need on incoming passengers sent freely by the airlines before take-off. That gives US customs a 6 hour start on European tourists coming to NY, for example.
    The customs attitude at Kennedy is that of ‘and why do you want to come to the promised land?’ My answer was: ‘To spend money here.’
    No European goes to the US looking for a handout. US citizens do come here for cheap, or free, medical care their own country refuses to provide.
    What was that about ‘the promised land’?

  90. 103 amanda foyoh
    August 17, 2009 at 23:01

    Everyone deserves to be treated fairly as long as you’ re not a criminal. Being rude or aggresive to people is totally unprofessional irrespective of their age, background or beliefs. Something should really be done about it as it ‘s really getting out of hands. You can do your job without hurting other people’ s feelings.

  91. 104 Srikant
    August 18, 2009 at 00:34

    I think its the price we all pay for the ugly acts caused by the extremists. when a very ordinary man is questioned and detained ..its a very ordinary event . However , it creates a news when a celebrity is held up . The real issue is …innocent people have often been inconvenienced by the few distorted elements in the society

  92. 105 Dawn
    August 18, 2009 at 00:39

    “don’t do on to other what you don’t like to be done to you”. This may sound biblical, but it is true.

  93. August 18, 2009 at 01:30

    In the interest of national security, everyone must go through normal security checks. But if there is ‘grilling’ involved, as claimed in this case, there is a problem. The security personnel must treat others the way they would want them – or their family – to be treated when they travel to other countries.

  94. August 18, 2009 at 01:55

    My worst experience was in my home country Australia, held at the airport for 3 hours, my lap top computer, camera and cell phone scanned, my baggage tipped out and gone through piece by piece a barrage of questions, rudeness, insulting, intimidation, and I am “G-d” and have the power trip by customs officials. A call for a more senior person resulted in further attacks on my integrity. All because I asked the customs officer to identify himself with the view of making a complaint about his overzealous treatment, a complete lack of respect and rudeness. That was not the end of the mater, on leaving the air port terminal I was arrested by the police (thanks to the customs official) and taken into custody for an allegedly $10 drive off from a service station 18 months prior to this. Four hours later I was told “you are un arrested it was someone else”. I had lived at the same address for the past 10 years, a frequent overseas traveller and had never in counted such treatment anywhere else in the world including the US. At least Mr Khan had someone to call for assistance. I have travelled the world. Australia would have the rudest, intimidating, egotistical bunch of customs officials of anywhere else in the world followed by New Zealand. The UK comes in third place. I have been shown more respect in China, India and South Africa than Australia NZ or the UK. Mr Khan was unfortunate to meet with the wrong customs official who was probably and Australian with a green card.

  95. 108 Dennis Junior
    August 18, 2009 at 02:58

    Yes, USA needs to be more tolerant of the visitors that come visiting the country…

    =Dennis Junior=

  96. 109 BeeJay
    August 18, 2009 at 03:56

    No offense, but SRK is virtually unknown here in the states outside the South Asian community. I didn’t know who he was until this story broke, and I have been a regular BBC listener for 30 years, so for a customs/immigration based in Newark, New Jersey, it would be an even greater unfamiliarity.

    Was this treatment excessive? Not really, in my humble opinion. I’m a white, middle-aged, native born American and have been treated with much the same “correct” behavior the agents gave SRK. The agents usually don’t have a sense of humor whatsoever, so any sort of retort, even harmless, is not appreciated at all.

    VIP treatment? Why? There should be no difference between individuals entering the US, so whether it’s SRK or myself, the same treatment is meted out on everyone. It is not always a positive experience, nor do I feel that all visitors are treated equally in any way when entering. To somehow insist that a VIP who is not well known in another country deserves less scrutiny than a citizen is irrational. However, to apparently apply the examination given to Mr. Khan without further explanation about the reasoning behind it is unreasonable.

    I have seen a variety of reactions by immigration officers when entering a country. In Canada, they have been worse than American officers when crossing the border. In my European travels, a studied indifference was the norm, although on transiting through Switzerland, the officers there were more than thorough in examining my passport.

    All countries are different. May we one day soon be able to back off such behavior and simply welcome all visitors fairly and without prejudice.

  97. 110 Peppa
    August 18, 2009 at 04:03

    I’ve traveled extensively by air in the U.S. and in Europe. The only European nation that I’ve been searched by security is the U.K. and that was BEFORE 9/11. I don’t know what their issues are in terms of profiling or their reasoning for it. I feel when I was stopped that I was definitely profiled because of my European sounding name and my Black appearance. In terms of the U.S. travel, I have stopped enjoying any traveling by air. Pre 9/11, air travel was wonderful and relaxing. Today airports have become nothing more than a way to get people stressed about the ever changing travel rules and restrictions. And the majority of TSA people are rude and act low class. Giving people who are ignorant authority in situations like security can lead to abuses. These days I only travel by air if I absolutely have to because of the absolute inconvience and aggravation of the security checks. I’m referring to traveling within the U.S. and not internationally.
    Again, I’ve had no issues traveling by air within other countries.

  98. 111 Punk
    August 18, 2009 at 05:28

    Hey why do u make that news a big Issue what every America do they should do and as a Indian I would support American they are protecting the American people from Terrorist , it not India that if u r a MP or some other minister u will not be checked , I think India should learn some thing from America. and The as Khan is Islamic so the problem is that 95% terrorist are Islamic so its difficult for them so what ever they do to protect there country they are doing its good .. LEARN INDIAN SOME THING FROM USA..

    and USA people care about there citizen not like Indian. In the time of swine flew the hospital is make a high price test money for swine flew..

    well u will agree, then only when Indian will be in the same situation I will Support USA as I am Indian

  99. 112 Sherm
    August 18, 2009 at 05:59

    My problem is that airport security is mostly for show.

    If there was real security that checked everything and everyone in an effective way, then it would be worthwhile and nobody could easily complain.

    The fact that airport security couldn’t find out who this guy was a little bit quicker than they did really tells allot about these peoples investigative abilities.

  100. 113 scmehta
    August 18, 2009 at 06:30

    The USA certainly needs to be more respectful while carrying on with their duties on the security checks and scrutinies anywhere ; In fact, they do need to learn a thing or two from the UK, in matters of courtesy and etiquette.

  101. August 18, 2009 at 06:37

    No, Movie stars don’t need any special treatment. They are like any ordinary citizens. Are writers, poets, painters & other talented people asking any special treatment?
    Rules are rules & they will have to be followed by everybody. I wish Indians too followed rules when Hollywood stars visited India.
    Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa

  102. 115 cinnamon
    August 18, 2009 at 09:56

    While it is true that no one should be above the law, process and procedure. I think Americans involved in immigration and security the world over from embassies to airports really should improve how they treat citizens of other countries, in my country the embassy staff are some of the most impolite and ill mannered people i have ever come across! and yes they are even worse at their airports. Of course they were attacked and need to put their safety first, buts as much as that was a terrible tragedy, they use it as an excuse to harrass and intimidate foreigners. Im glad that an international icon was the subject of such discriminatory treatment because it has helped bring the matter to light, the rest of us ordinary people have been suffering in silence.
    There a lot of countries that are the object of attacks by terrorists and other elements, but their security and immigration procedures are not as discriminatory or subjective as that of the Americans, it’s not really about safety, thank you very much! it just comes down to that age old saying ‘charity begins at home’ – Americans need to learn to handle other nationals better, how come only those with muslim surnames or those from the middle east, certain parts of Africa and Asia are targets? what sort of procedure is that?
    I agree with that Indian women i saw on the news , who stated that maybe we should start treating Americans the way they treat us. We should frisk them make them take off their shoes and place them in little small cramped rooms for hours on end and release them only after their embassy intervenes and then call it procedure, lets see how they will like that! Of course they’ll probably take the matter to the UN.

  103. 116 Roberto
    August 18, 2009 at 10:51

    RE “” Plenty of Indian bloggers seem affronted that their hero should have been put through this. “”

    —————- Plenty of low brow Indian bloggers could care less about the long history of historic travesties that predominate to this day against hundreds of millions of their fellow Indians.

    Being affronted would be a divine luxury compared to the daily slings and arrows endured by common folk daily. Oh but if I had the power to put these sniffling dandies weeping their crocodile tears into the shoeless feet of the downtrodden of the world for a single day.

  104. 117 Zvijet
    August 18, 2009 at 12:18

    I am for detailed yet effective screening. As for the U.S. Customs & Border Protection agency in the USA, the former U.S. Immigration officials hide behind the new uniform of the Customs officials since those two legacy agencies including some Agriculture officers from USDA were placed and formed as Department of Homeland Security, what a funny name for a government section. This was the making from the Bush administration. Mr. Obama and his congress should disband those legacy agencies and so that the expertise, enforcement and remaining professionalism would flourish. Having Immigration in charge of Customs and Agriculture was and still is a very big mistake. I have collegues who had traveled to various U.S. destinations in the mainland USA and the state of Hawaii. U.S. Immigration is at full force and at the baggage claim area, Customs inspectors are scarce and overworked leaving the opportunity of smuggling, etc. is highly probable. Australia and Singapore are strict in clearance formalities but courteous. How can the USA attain general accord with other nations that they tried to negotiate with for so many years now after this unfortunate incident. Famous persons or commoners, all must must be treated with respect and dignity.

  105. 118 Ram
    August 18, 2009 at 13:05

    Oh my favourite hero, as I love and admire you, I think, you are loved too by the US HL Security – that’s why they engaged in sweet conversation with you for as long as they could!

    But, between you and me, who prepared your response dialogues?

  106. 119 Jennifer
    August 18, 2009 at 14:26

    I think when one travels’ they do so as a citizen; not as a celebrity! I would much rather be heckled for safety than them let someone through that is not safe. A person has a right to be treated the same as everyone else: “bollywood”, hollywood, or etc.

  107. August 18, 2009 at 15:42

    All Airlines Travelers are usually treated equally .It begins with security check electronic screening Luggage check ID check and passport Check Ticket check at point of origin. Upon arrival at Airplane it is again checked. Upon arrival at destination there is absolutely minimal Checking required. At exit point if you are stopped and questioned It is due to last minute computer insertion for security check or for personal promotion of individuals at Security Level or Purely illicit reason. Be honest! Evaluate SRK case and project what if you are questioned .Imagine for what reason?

  108. August 18, 2009 at 18:06

    It seems much more time is being spent on Mr Khan as on the dozens of people being killed in Bagdad or Kabul. Maybe the American airport border guards could be sent their and save some of them through their tough if nor conscientious professional behaviour.
    Much ado about nothing. Mrs Clinton would probably agree.

  109. 122 Elias
    August 19, 2009 at 00:41

    In the interests of security, America has to do what it has to do regardless of any inconvenience to travellers. If one has nothing to hide he has nothing to worry about. Naturally some travellers from certain countries find themselves cross examined it is only because terrorists from those and neighbouring countries have carried out terrorist acts.

    In the case of Shah Rukh Khan, he may be a celebritie in his country, not many people outside of India have ever heard of him, and as he was coming from an area Mumbai or Bombay where the bombing of some hotels were in the news. he invairably invited attention and scrutiny. He has to accept it wether he likes it or not.

  110. 123 Deepak Ghimire
    August 19, 2009 at 07:47

    What happens if 9-11 repeats once again?

    You shouldn,t mind,
    there is matter of country,s security so we have respect theire concern.
    If there was no 9-11 they wouldn,t treat you this way.

    If you don,t like, don,t go, it is so simple.

  111. 124 Anwer Abdulla
    August 19, 2009 at 07:52

    i dont see something unusual in this incident. in my view if we travel to a country we
    we will be the subject to the security checking which helps them make sure of their own country’s safety and security. i think it must be applicable to any country.
    why can’t a person whoever he is or she is be utilzed for any particular purpose by others without his knowledge as they see him or her vulnerable to something. it is also possible.
    there are many incidents in history.
    but i don’t know if there is such an agreement exists in the world between any countries that the personaliteis with such and such profiles should be exempted from the such procedures.

  112. 125 Jim Newman
    August 21, 2009 at 21:42

    Hello again
    I have a feeling that the shameful treatment by the USA of other peoples around the world is a reflection of their own self respect. It doesn’t mean that other countries around the world should follow suite.

  113. 126 Markie
    August 23, 2009 at 17:55

    I’m glad this happened to SRK. Because this discussion needs to take place with the public and customs.

    I’m a Canadian citizen, born in Canada with dark skin. I had two random checks one going to the US and one leaving the US at the border this past weekend. It’s pretty surprising because I’ve never had this much scrutiny even right after 9/11!! And this is for no other reason than having dark skin. (I have a Christian name). To top it off, I’ve had a pretty extensive travel record going to the US. I’ve paid US taxes for some number of years which I’m sure they can see.

    Obama as president actually gives the border service more freedom. It’s much more difficult to accuse Homeland security of being racist because Obama will stick up for them, and the charges of being racist/prejudice won’t stick in the public’s mind.

    The only way this will really be resolved is to hurt the US in the pocket. Don’t buy US products. (Since they have no problem in saying Buy American) If you’re a skilled engineer/doctor/scientist, don’t go to the US unless it is to study. Work for a non-US company afterwards which is not in the US. (Preferably a BRIC firm since they’re the ones that will give the US a run for its money.) When the US unemployment rate increases to 20% for a few years you’ll see a change.

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