Terming the incident a "little embarrassing" for a self-respecting like him, the actor said it had to do with his Muslim name declined to term the incident as "racial profiling".

Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan had an unnerving experience early this morning at the Newark Airport in the US when he was detained and questioned for about two hours before the Indian mission intervened and secured his release.

43-year-old Mr. Khan was detained by the immigration officers, who wanted to know why he was visiting the US and other such questions, after his name popped up on the computer screen at the counter.

The actor, who was heading towards Chicago to participate in the Independence Day celebrations, said it was a "little embarrassing" for a self-respecting like him.

"It is a Muslim name and I think the name is common on their checklist," he told Indian television channels over telephone.

In New Delhi, US Ambassador Timothy J Roemer described Mr. Khan as a "global icon", who is a welcome guest in the US.

Mr. Khan said: "I was taken aback...I was taken to a room where there were several others waiting for secondary immigration checks. Obviously most of them were Asians."

"I was waiting for my bags... I thought it was nice of them to take me to another room... but that was apparently a second check," a visibly upset Khan said, adding "I had my papers in order."

Mr. Khan said he kept telling the authorities that he was an actor and requested them to allow him to speak to his contacts in the US, but was not allowed to make calls initially.

"They said calls are not allowed. But, later they said that I can make one. Then I sent messages to my secretary, my home and (Congress MP Rajiv) Shukla," he said.

Mr. Khan said Mr. Shukla informed the Indian Mission, who immediately contacted the authorities concerned and secured his release. "They (Indian officials) were really helpful," he said.

Mr. Khan said there were some immigration officials who knew him and vouched for him but declined to entertain his plea, saying they have to follow rules.

"I have always been worried about travelling to America. I shy away from all this. I don't look like a terrorist going to do anything to the country.

"I did feel bad. I felt angry. I am glad my family wasn't there. God knows what they would have done to them," Mr. Khan said.

"I told them I am a movie star and had recently visited the country for the shooting for a film," Mr. Khan said, he said, adding that the particular immigration officer refused to oblige.

Mr. Khan, who has been frequenting the US to shoot for his film, the latest being 'My Name is Khan', said it is not for the first time such an incident has happened to him.

The actor, who will return to India on August 20, declined to term the incident as "racial profiling", but said it had to do with his Muslim name.

The incident comes two months after Malayalam superstar Mammootty was detained at the JFK airport due to his surname Ismail. Legendary singer Mukhesh's grandson actor Neil Nitin Mukesh had alleged that he was detained at an American airport as authorities said that he did not look like an Indian.

Keywords: Shahrukh KhandetainUSracism

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