Shah Rukh Khan detained at New York airport

Published: April 13, 2012
Was hassled at American airport because my name is Khan: SRK. PHOTO: FILE

Was hassled at American airport because my name is Khan: SRK. PHOTO: FILE

NEW YORK: Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan was detained at A New York airport for two hours Thursday as he arrived to visit Yale University, where he was honoured as a Chubb Fellow.

Khan, who was detained by the immigration authorities, was allowed to go only after his hosts intervened and took up the issue with the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, according to sources.

As part of the Yale Chubb Fellowship, Khan later attended a reception and dinner at Timothy Dwight College at New Haven Connecticut with over 120 Yale students including members of the South Asian Society at Yale, before taking a return flight Thursday night.

Before addressing the students at Yale University after joining the roster of Yale University’s Chubb Fellows, one of the Ivy League institution’s highest honours, for promoting human ideals through art, Khan recalled he was “detained” at the airport “as always happens”.

Due to Khan’s detention at the airport, the Yale event in New Haven started an hour late.

In August 2009 also, Khan was stopped at the Newark Airport and was released after two hours at the intervention of the Indian consulate in New York.

“I was really hassled at the American Airport because of my name being Khan…It was absolutely uncalled for…I felt angry and humiliated,” said Shah Rukh, who was then heading towards Chicago to participate in an Independence Day celebration event.

“It is a Muslim name and I think the name is common on their checklist,” he had then said.

The Chubb Fellowship is devoted to encouraging and aiding Yale students interested in the operations of government and in public service. Each year three or four distinguished men and women have been appointed as visiting Chubb Fellows.

Former Chubb Fellows include presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter; authors Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes, and Toni Morrison; filmmaker Sofia Coppola; architect Frank Gehry; choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov; and journalist Walter Cronkite.

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Reader Comments (65)

  • Frantic
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:41AM

    Yet Again??? Poor guy


  • Spaniard
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:48AM

    Human Right champs differenciate millions of humans based on their names…Why dont anyone talk about this thing…SHAHRUKH go and make a film about it…S SUPER DUPER HIT…that hit the newyork box office and then got to know about…Make this pain of yours relief for others…as you can doo


  • Maher
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:55AM

    Shahrukh you should have said this to immigration authorities..
    My name is Shahrukh Khan and I am not a TERRORIST, I AM DON :)


  • Apr 13, 2012 - 11:42AM

    This happens to SRK at US airports just before he releases a movie :D


  • Sajid
    Apr 13, 2012 - 11:47AM

    My Name is Khan and I am not a…..oh well, it didn’t work buddy, just didn’t work :p


  • MAD
    Apr 13, 2012 - 12:22PM

    Say it again Shahrukh. My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist.


  • Ali
    Apr 13, 2012 - 12:32PM

    And yet he goes to the U.S. time and again!


  • Shah
    Apr 13, 2012 - 12:43PM

    lolzz..nice one…just imagine if this happens with a celebrity wht can happen with a common man.


  • positive pakistani
    Apr 13, 2012 - 12:54PM

    “My Name is Khan and I am not a terrorist” ?? :D … poor guy…..succeeded to gain some sympathies and more relevance for his (now old) movie….


  • vickram
    Apr 13, 2012 - 1:08PM

    SRK was detained because he went on the invitation of South Asian Society.

    In US, South Asia means Pakistan.

    PS: For some reason, in US universities, Pakistanis prefer to identify themselves as South Asians rather than Pakistanis; but, an Indian will always say he is an Indian.


  • curious
    Apr 13, 2012 - 2:38PM

    SRK is silly. If they treat him badly, why bother going to USA even if they are giving an award which is probably made in China.


  • Tony Singh
    Apr 13, 2012 - 3:30PM

    Maybe the immigration guy saw R-one and wanted his money back!! or just wanted SRK to know how one felt watching R-one in the theatre for 2+ hours


  • Salman
    Apr 13, 2012 - 3:32PM

    @ Vikram

    I am a PAKISTANI living in US and I call myself a PAKISTANI and I am proud of it! I have observed whole Pakistani community doing the same. Yes, one thing that makes us quite annoyed is when USA people think we are Indians! That one is quite annoying! You missed out this point.

    Your provided information is biased and prejudiced! Please check your stats before you spell out here.


  • malatesh
    Apr 13, 2012 - 4:00PM


    Its not a big deal, even Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam also detained many times. You should respect and cooperate with officials for security check. Security check for muslims has been very necessory in US from after 9/11 attack.
    Its very painful to hear that Indian muslims are also subjected to extra security checks.**


  • Mzaheer
    Apr 13, 2012 - 4:19PM

    Pakistanis will always say they are Pakistanis unlike indians who liked to be called desi or south asian.In the USA it is india that means south asia and not Pakistan as many people think Pakistan is in the middle east or central asia and not in south asia.


  • Hassan
    Apr 13, 2012 - 4:34PM

    @Vickram: there must be people with low self esteem but you know what i just came back from a trip to Paris, Koln, Bolgna and SP in Brazil and if you tell any girl that you are from Pakistan they just like to know you more and its really interesting…..All you need to do is be ready for FAQS :)….So guys just be positive and use the situation it really works :D


  • Pakistani
    Apr 13, 2012 - 5:37PM

    He was clearly stopped because of a Muslim name. The same news is in TOI. Read that, where they have explicitly mentioned that Nita, wife of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, and the rest of their group were cleared immediately, Khan was stopped and was given immigration clearance only after about two hours.


  • Mohsin Mukhtar
    Apr 13, 2012 - 5:40PM

    I think, he made a hoax for the promotion of his movie.
    1000s of Khans go to New-york everyday…Not everyone is detained.!!….grow up and try to understand these cheap promotion tricks….


  • Feel sorry for you guys!
    Apr 13, 2012 - 6:01PM

    The theme running through this thread by Pakistani commentators is that SRK did this for movie publicity. He is King Khan. Your cheap jealous and petty pakistani mentality is disgusting.


  • G. Din
    Apr 13, 2012 - 6:24PM

    As Omar Abdullah said:”Get over it. It happens to a lot of people!” It is their country and they have every right to decide who comes in and who doesn’t. It is not easy to keep a country as safe as US has done since 9/11. If you feel miffed at how you are treated, take your business elsewhere. Instead, he wants his children to study at Yale. Why? Don’t you have any self-respect that was so “bruised” because a security official asked you to step aside to “know” you better?
    This man is becoming a liability with his chip on his shoulder!


  • theresa
    Apr 13, 2012 - 6:26PM

    Dear Mr. Salman,

    All you have to do is visit the Brooklyn part of New York, which is lined up with Paki grocery shops and small businesses. Anytime there is a problem involving Pakistan, almost all of them will say that they are either Indians or Bangladeshis to the unsuspecting Americans. Ask any Paki cab driver in the city. If an American asks him about his nationality, the cab driver is very likely to say that he is from South Asia (what on earth is this nationality?!!). The reason, I hardly need to elaborate, lies in the suspicion and resentment the term “Pakistani” evokes amongst local people — be in the USA, Europe or anywhere else. The only way out for you is to demonstrate intellectual honesty and stop living in a state of denial that you are causing much of the world’s violence and trepidations. Recommend

  • Fawad
    Apr 13, 2012 - 7:13PM

    Reason: My name is Khan movie, not seen by immigration officers:)


  • Obaid
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:35PM

    @Vikram so the fact the Pakistanis in US call themselves as South Asians was the cause of SK’s detention by US immigration authorities who are too naive to know what South Asia is comprised of hehehe, My friend don’t let your smear campaign preclude your intellect. The world is far bigger than the box you live in


  • Sindus
    Apr 13, 2012 - 11:29PM

    @vickram: Buddy there is no box in any University Form saying: “Indian” or “Pakistani” but only the race background is checked as “Asian”, Pacific Islander” or “Hawaiian” etc. Also you can’t lie or imply or be ambiguous something in an interview here. By the way, your mention of Pakistan here is painfully understandable.


  • Nobody
    Apr 14, 2012 - 1:19AM

    @Salman @Mzaheer:
    You both took the words right out of my mouth. Have yet to meet any Pakistani ashamed of expressing their Pakistani ethnicity in the US, myself included!

    Take the trolling elsewhere. :)


  • Babbarsher khan
    Apr 14, 2012 - 1:53AM

    My name is also Khan, hope I will also not be met with similar greetings by Uncle Sam’s immigration agents. I am scheduled to enter the US next week. If I am held up like Shah Rukh will Pakistani Consulate come to my rescue?


  • Apr 14, 2012 - 2:24AM

    He was delayed but not detained. Check your sources again.


  • Ch Allah Daad
    Apr 14, 2012 - 2:43AM

    Very few White and Black Americans know SRK or anyother Indian Super Star. Most famous Indian actors in North America are Irfan Khan and Anil Kapoor and in females Aishwarya Rai. Secondly there are few security protocols which every immigration, custom and security official follows. They will not let you go easily if you name pops up in random check or if its flagged for some reason. Once their Ex. Vice President Al Gore was stopped at airport and went through all procedures.


  • gujranwala789
    Apr 14, 2012 - 3:24AM

    I am victimzed many times in europe because of my name which involves Muhammad and is an open signature of me being muslim, but I am proud of my name and since I have not done anything wrong so why to worry if I am treated with a “little” bit more care.


  • Mzaheer
    Apr 14, 2012 - 3:24AM


    Pakistanis proudly keep there names for eg Nadia Ali, Imran Khan (Punjabi Singer) and Zayn Malik from the boy band One Direction, unlike Indians who completely change their names for fame eg Jay Sean whos real name is Kamaljit and Rishi Rich whose real name is Rishpal Singh.
    Pakistanis are very patriotic and have a lot of pride in where they are from, much more than indians and bangladeshis.


  • American Pakistani
    Apr 14, 2012 - 5:29AM

    No one know Shahrukh khan other than people who watch Bollywood. So playing his stardom won’t really help with homeland security. IMO, If this helped to make the airports and skies more secure, I am all in for that. He should get off his high horse and know that we (as Muslims) are to partly blame for that. Fair or no fair.


  • Visibly Invisible
    Apr 14, 2012 - 6:31AM


    Dude you are soooo wrong


  • gp65
    Apr 14, 2012 - 6:39AM

    @Nobody: “@Salman @Mzaheer:
    You both took the words right out of my mouth. Have yet to meet any Pakistani ashamed of expressing their Pakistani ethnicity in the US, myself included!”

    Many Pakistani restaurants call themselves Indian restaurants. No Indian resturants call themselves Pakistani.

    Many Pakistani grocery stores call themselves indoPak grocery stores. indian grocery stores simply call themselves Indian stores. Pakistianis do not hide their identities from each other. Many (obviously not all) do hide their identity from Americans.


  • SounOfFury
    Apr 14, 2012 - 6:51AM

    I have seen that happening in a number of instances. There was one guy from Karachi with whom I work with who says he is Indian because his family came from UP pre partition. I just met a Pakistani girl who told me she was mexican. Not surprising I guess given the negative views of Pakistanis in many parts of the world. I would say it is far more pronounced in US raised Pakistani Americans though.


  • SounOfFury
    Apr 14, 2012 - 7:04AM


    Very few folks outside the south asian community would ever watch a Bollywood flick in the US. To them SRK is just another potential Nidal Hassaan.


  • SounOfFury
    Apr 14, 2012 - 8:55AM


    How exactly is retention of a Muslim sounding name connected with national pride? Especially since a person with name like Nadia Ali could have come from a whole host of countries. Moreover I do not think jay sean ever distanced himself from his cultural background.


  • let there be peace
    Apr 14, 2012 - 11:35AM

    maybe they watched Ra-one and wanted to take revenge for three hours if torture.


  • Akbar
    Apr 14, 2012 - 12:55PM

    @Salman: I am a pakistani and prefer it not to be known as its not something to be proud off these days


  • foxofficedud
    Apr 14, 2012 - 1:41PM


    Oh Theresa Theresa…..

    “The only way out for you is to demonstrate intellectual honesty and stop living in a state of denial that you are causing much of the world’s violence and trepidations.”

    that demonstrates a flawed mind … too much fox news isn’t doing u any good oh mother theresa…


  • Abbas, ZA
    Apr 14, 2012 - 3:50PM

    @Salman: ya trying saying that loudly…Recommend

  • Abbas, ZA
    Apr 14, 2012 - 3:53PM

    @Nobody: Therefore see how many have recommended your illusions..


  • Abbas, ZA
    Apr 14, 2012 - 3:59PM

    @SounOfFury: Thats right..the burden of using Pakistan identity has become too much for some of these people -if not all-especially after these terrorist name tags and the fact the Bin laden was caught redhandedly. I have seen many common americans using Pakistan as synonyms for where terrorists live. its better to not live in denial.Recommend

  • Jan
    Apr 14, 2012 - 5:11PM

    I have lived in London for more than 20 years and I have not come across a single Pakistani who is ashamed of his nationality. Yes they are critical of the way the government is running the state of the affairs but that’s about it. Examples are cricket matches in UK. Independence day on the streets of Southall.


  • Indian
    Apr 14, 2012 - 5:20PM

    Shah Rukh Khan detained at New York airport – Due thanks to the Khans in other parts of the world….


  • mrk
    Apr 14, 2012 - 6:10PM

    It does show the sterotyping by name what else? A low paid immigration official (around $55k) goes through thousands of visitors everyday following a laid out procedure/protool. Having experienced before, there are a lot of things that either don’t know or do not wish to know.

    For someone like Shahrukh, they are just a nuance as eventually he’s going to get through no matter what. How long can they question him for?
    And he is in U.s. several times a year including in Nov promoting


  • huzaifa
    Apr 14, 2012 - 6:14PM

    ch ch ch! followers of CHANKIA KTTAYLIA, you people never cease to amaze me, to propagate against others is your bread and butter. Instead of presenting a joint front to USA, you are dividing the south Asian community JUST BECAUSE SHAH RUKH KHAN IS MUSLIM.


  • common pakistani
    Apr 14, 2012 - 6:36PM

    Hope you are not european. This much arrogance works only in USA. If you were in Britain, by now your comment might be facing a pulic uproar. The word you are using for Pakistanis shows how thoughtful you are. No wonder Pakistani community feels unsafe where people like you exist. By the way, i think Pakistanis have yet to break records of Bush and Blair when it comes to terrorism and i am absolutely angry on Express tribune to publish yur comment with so many offences.


  • Indian
    Apr 14, 2012 - 6:51PM

    “CHANKIA KTTAYLIA”It actually is Chanakya and Kautilya…. Yeah i get that you are a fan of a certain fellow who only knows to yell all things about Hindus in your TVs… But what amazes me is people developing dementia and psychosis at a young age. Older people are smart and informed enough not to believe in the concocted stories of these ‘WELL INFORMED'(!!!!!!) defense analysts as they call themselves, but emotions get the better of youngsters like you…..

    you are dividing the south Asian community JUST BECAUSE SHAH RUKH KHAN IS MUSLIM.
    Shah Rukh Khan is an ‘Indian’ Muslim suffering this humiliation for sharing a name that others Muslims in India’s neighbourhood have with ‘so much of hard work’ brought to the level that people all over the world screen them at airports thinking they are terrorists.. Thank you very much for giving such a beautiful gift for the SRK of India JUST BECAUSE SHAH RUKH KHAN is MUSLIM…..


  • Mzaheer
    Apr 14, 2012 - 7:05PM


    India has been causing problems in the region and sectarian violence for a long time now from Tibet in China to supporting terror groups like the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. The Hindus of India made the Sikhs go against the muslims in Punjab. India was the driving force which caused east Pakistan to break away into Bangladesh. India has been killing innocent kashmiris for years now, this is what you call real violence and terrorism. Indian agents have been caught in Pakistan trying to cause the separation of Balochistan. These are just few examples of terror and division India has caused.


  • gujranwala789
    Apr 14, 2012 - 7:12PM


    The reason for that could be that from my experience I have observed that Europeans are kind of not religious people so they usually dont give importance to the the religious identity of a person , on the other hand the americans are quite religiously conscious folks (christians) and do perceive foreigners on the basis of their religion.


  • SoundOfFury
    Apr 14, 2012 - 7:57PM


    I believe both my and vickram’s comments referred mainly to the US. British Pakistanis seem very segregated and disconnected from the mainstream relative to American Pakistanis so it is not surprising they take such strong views in context of nationality or religion as a means of identity.


  • Fundyar
    Apr 14, 2012 - 8:10PM

    Sorry to dissappoiint
    My name is also khan n not been stopped at USA for that


  • Baal (ki khaal) Thakaray
    Apr 15, 2012 - 3:36AM

    When I last went to the US to get the ‘original’ Texas Car Wax for my proud Indoo moustache, I told ’em I was from India, (not South Asia), and that I run an extremist anti-Muslim organization. (I was told that these words would kick-start my royal welcome). Now why on earth did they beat me up like you’d beat a trespassing mule!?? I last visited USA 3 months back, and still have to deliver all my Bhashans standing up.. :/


  • jan
    Apr 15, 2012 - 4:38AM

    On the contrary, people in Europe are more uptight and less friendly. If you have spend time in USA, you will note that after passing through the immigration, in urban cities, people are usually very friendly and open….


  • sid
    Apr 15, 2012 - 9:33AM

    hilarious commentry, everyone thinks they are pundits and know everything about everything. keep it up.


  • raw is war
    Apr 15, 2012 - 9:35AM

    @ Salman

    absolutely wrong. I saw all over europe and USA pakistanis run hotels calling themselves Indian hotels. Isnt it shameful enough? Why this bragging? Pakistanis are hated in USA to the core. No hotel calling itself Pakistani hotel will make any business there. Period.


  • Paras Vikmani
    Apr 15, 2012 - 10:49AM

    Those authorities might have seen Ra.One and then arrested him.


  • malik
    Apr 15, 2012 - 4:41PM

    @raw is war:

    Pakistanis running Indian restaurants is fair safety mechanism, but I thought it was the last straw when I saw someone from Karachi running a South Indian hotel, offering idlis and dosas. So much for the proud identity.

    When I asked, he said, “If I name it an Indian restaurant, lots of Indian guys will come. But, if I call this a Pakistani restaurant, only the FBI guys will come ! ”


  • Pragmatist
    Apr 15, 2012 - 5:11PM

    @Mzaheer: Anything else that your brainwashed mind missed out on? This is the official propaganda. The truth, if you care to find out, will be completely different. Look for it yourself sir.


  • Jigi
    Apr 15, 2012 - 6:04PM

    I never understood why Pakis disregard their Punjabi heritage and take up Arabic names. One’s name is based on their NATIVE culture and language, not the religion they follow. Moreover, there is no such thing as a “muslim” name, since religion do not have names, languages do. The iranians and the turkish people do not have Arabic names.


  • Mzaheer
    Apr 15, 2012 - 7:57PM

    Many Iranians males have names like Ali, Hassan and Omar which are arabic. Many Iranian females have names like Nadia and Layla which are also arabic. Many Turks also have arabic names like Mohammad and Mahmoud its just that they say it and write it in a different way for eg Mahmet is Mohammed. Many Pakistanis have arabic names and many dont for eg the Bhuttos have names like Bilawal and Benazir which have nothing to do with arabic.


  • SoundOfFury
    Apr 15, 2012 - 8:07PM

    From what US Pakistanis tell me is that any non Muslim cultural identity is looked down upon and people feel shame for having a subcontinental background. Arabs are viewed as some kind of super Muslims because Mohammed was an Arab and Arabs were the first Muslims. I guess it is a kind of religious racism. Interesting.


  • SoundOfFury
    Apr 15, 2012 - 8:14PM

    Yes in a general sense people are more friendly to minorities in the US. But I fail to see what that has to with the desire of Pakistani Americans to fit in socially.


  • Faraz
    Apr 15, 2012 - 8:51PM

    Theresa didn’t mention India in her comment, why did you bring it up?? LOL, and get rid of these stereotypes about India, Indian agents found in Balochistan? and is it India’s fault too that we have just ignored Balochistan and its people, that we can’t even provide them basic facilities like we did with the Bangalis?? What is happening in Tibet is none of our business, don’t forget China has been complaining about militants crossing from Pakistan into China, too. Stop living in denial and stop blaming India for every single thing that you think is wrong in Pakistan and yes also stop comparing with India (I am a Pakistani Muslim too if you think I am a Hindu now).


  • somia
    Apr 19, 2012 - 6:22PM

    not again dude !!!!!


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