Zayn Malik Was Detained for 3 Hours When He First Landed in America

Zayn Malik rose to fame as a member of One Direction and has become a household name worldwide. But his religious background as a Muslim has led to a mixed bag: praise from fans that welcomed a fresh face, and discrimination from others. The 24-year-old was recently interviewed by the Evening Standard and said, “I take a great sense of pride — and responsibility — in knowing that I am the first of my kind, from my background.”

But things haven’t always been easy for Zayn. The singer recalled starting out with One Direction and being subjected to intense profiling while traveling. He said, “The first time I came to America, I had three security checks before I got on the plane.” Zayn began recounting the frightening experience: “First they said that I’d been randomly selected, and then they said it was something to do with my name, it was flagging something in their system.”

Zayn continued by explaining that it didn’t stop there. “When I landed, it was like a movie. They kept me there for three hours, questioning me about all kinds of crazy stuff. I was 17, my first time in America. … The same thing happened the next time too.” He explains that he kept calm the entire time, and that he “understands the level of caution that needs to be taken, especially now, in the light of certain events at home.”

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