Frisky Business

Aug. 19, 2009

The detainment of two prominent Indian citizens by security officials at airports has ruffled a few feathers with regards to U.S.-India relations.

The most recent incident involved Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan, who was detained for nearly two hours at Newark International Airport in New Jersey while U.S. customs officials tried to verify his identity. The incident sparked outrage among Khan's fans in India, who affectionately refer to the heartthrob as "King Khan."

One Indian film producer discussing the incident with Middle Eastern news outlet Al-Jazeera said that the post 9-11 atmosphere in the U.S. is akin to "Islamaphobia." Ironically, Khan was in the U.S. to promote his new film "My Name is Khan," which is about discrimination faced by Muslims after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Last month, former Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was frisked by Continental Airlines employees before boarding a plane at New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport.The air carrier later apologized to Kalam for the incident.

I can't say i would expect U.S. security officials to know who these men were (I didn't know who they were until I read the stories), but the fact that either of them could be confused with terrorists is ridiculous . I think that its about time to either refine or completely do away with the terror watch list. All it seems to do is embolden our enemies and unnecessarily burden travelers, who simply want to go from point A to point B without being harassed. Besides,  it's not as if Osama Bin Laden is going to hop on a flight tomorrow using his real identity anyway.

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