Is the a in american for affront?

On April 21st 2009 at Delhi international airport, the ex president of Indian Abdul Kalam, the missile man, was frisked before boarding a continental airlines flight travelling to the U.S. He was with a VVIP security detail which tried to stop him from being body searched but the airline staff persisted and A.Kalam the humble man he is known to be, gave in to the humilation as part of routine.

The Indian people obviously were kept clueless while the elections were going on so that the BJP could not point score on this incident and are now in an uproar over this incident. As it should be in my opinion because an ex president being strip searched at one of India’s own airports is clearly insulting behavior by the boorish staff of the said airline.

However along with all the uproar and the F.I.R’s and what not being generated due to this incident we should also take note of the fact as to why Kalam was subjected to this humiliation. Ever since 9/11 happened the airlines of the world have made it a routine practice to harrass, search and indulge in dereogatery behavior towards anyone with a muslim name. I have personally experienced this while travelling on many destinations with and without my family along. Infact at one point I was seething with anger and had to be restrained by my wife as the staff made my 2 year old daughter stand with her arms raised and went over her with scanners as if she was loaded with rdx. A bloody 2 year old, travelling with her parents.

I do understand that the perpetrators of most of the horrible suicide attacks going on these days are muslim, but if muslim means terrorist to the world then there is something really wrong with the world of today. This is the problem faced by Mr Kalam, at that point the airline staff does not see a frail white haired person in front of them or the point that he is the ex bloody president of the country who’s air port they are standing on, they see a guy with a muslim name, hence the alarm bells go off in their programmed minds.

I do not think this is a problem only particular with american aircarriers but definately the level of security going into the U.S is quite frightning than compared to other nations.  I suggest that if the americans are so frightened of muslim names that they cannot distinguish between a suspicious individual a president with a VVIP protocol or a family travelling togather they should stop issuing visas, shut down their embassies and be done with the rest of us.

I suggest to my neighboring countries community to instead of demanding sacking of their own officials, ask nay demand that the airline which did this be banned from India, let us see how the corporate pigeons respond to their wing clipping from this lucrative sector.

An apology in this case atleast to me is not sufficient, I hope the worlds biggest democracy can live upto its name.

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  1. Faisal, profiling went to unknown limits after 9/11. The security detail at most airports were given orders to search anyone with a “muslim sounding name”. A typical mindset was created and has permeated deep in to the psyche – “Guilty until proven otherwise”.

    I hope the government here takes the necessary steps. Be it Dr.Kalam or your two year old child, this is an extremely stupid and racist behaviour. And Dr. Kalam confirmed that he is yet to receive the apology.

    On a side note, racism and racial profiling is very alive has been proved again with the arrest of Prof. Skip Gates. USA needs to do quite a lot of house cleaning.

  2. Couldnt have put it better myself Shri …. i understand when they do not get our customs but there is nothing “random” about their so called random profiling and it makes one feel like a second grade citizen.

  3. Faisal, agreed. Totally. There is a fine line between healthy caution and rabid paranoia. This was beyond paranoid. All the neocons, in the US, hiding behind a facade and creeping out of the woodwork. I do hope this new administration in WH has sense enough to understand the complexities and not rush through like a bull in a china shop.

  4. I disagree. Continental treats everybody the same lack of respect regardless of race, religion, nationality or social/political rank. I get frisked everytime I fly on Continental and I’m a white Christian American. Heck, the last two times I flew with them they even lost my luggage and weren’t particularly nice about getting them back to me. Dr. Kalam is lucky they didn’t lose his luggage or that they didn’t sit him in a middle seat between two gassy fat guys.
    If you want to treat a dignitary with dignity above that of the normal public then he shouldn’t fly on a public flight. The Indian govt should arrange a chartered or government flight for Dr. Kalam’s travel. The US does this for it’s exPresidents out of respect and security.

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