New source of anti-Americanism: offending Bollywood

Bollywood fans in India’s northern city of Allahabad burned a U.S. flag and shouted anti-American slogans to protest treatment of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan (seen at right). Khan was stopped and held for questioning as he entered the U.S. in Newark, NJ.  U.S. customs officials say that the questioning was standard procedure, that the ...

582081_090817_bollywood25.jpg
582081_090817_bollywood25.jpg

Bollywood fans in India's northern city of Allahabad burned a U.S. flag and shouted anti-American slogans to protest treatment of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan (seen at right). Khan was stopped and held for questioning as he entered the U.S. in Newark, NJ. 

U.S. customs officials say that the questioning was standard procedure, that the delay lasted only 66 minutes and that it was made worse by the fact that the actor's bag was lost by the airline. In India, however, the perceived offense was much greater, the AP reports:

"Shocking, disturbing n downright disgraceful. It's such behavior that fuels hatred and racism. SRK's a world figure for God's sake. Get real!" actress Priyanka Chopra said on her Twitter feed.

Bollywood fans in India’s northern city of Allahabad burned a U.S. flag and shouted anti-American slogans to protest treatment of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan (seen at right). Khan was stopped and held for questioning as he entered the U.S. in Newark, NJ. 

U.S. customs officials say that the questioning was standard procedure, that the delay lasted only 66 minutes and that it was made worse by the fact that the actor’s bag was lost by the airline. In India, however, the perceived offense was much greater, the AP reports:

“Shocking, disturbing n downright disgraceful. It’s such behavior that fuels hatred and racism. SRK’s a world figure for God’s sake. Get real!” actress Priyanka Chopra said on her Twitter feed.

The federal information minister, Ambika Soni, angrily suggested that India adopt a similar policy toward Americans traveling to India.

Khan, visiting the U.S. to celebrate Indian Independence day at a parade in Chicago, is also working on a new film called “My Name is Khan” about racial profiling of Indian muslims in the U.S. as potential terrorists. 

Perhaps grateful for the unexpected marketing boost, Khan later said he did not want an apology. But he added that his patience with American customs was wearing thin (he said this is not the first time something similar has happened) and that he might seek to spend more time in countries that know their Bollywood stars on sight:

“Post-9/11, one could understand and one did not complain. But this time it was a bit too much. I have travelled to other countries. I never faced any problem in the UK where I am treated like a state guest. They escort me to the car.”

STR/AFP/Getty Images

<p> Michael Wilkerson, a journalist and former Fulbright researcher in Uganda, is a graduate student in politics at Oxford University, where he is a Marshall Scholar. </p>

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