Pop star Zayn Malik has opened up about his past experiences of being discriminated against as a British Muslim, specifically detailing one incident at an airport.
Speaking to the British paper The Evening Standard, Zayn recalls that as a member of One Direction, “The first time I came to America, I had three security checks before I got on the plane.”
He adds, “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 on their system.”
Then when I landed, it was like a movie,” he continues. “They kept me there for three hours, questioning me about all kinds of crazy stuff. I was 17, my first time in America, jet-lagged…confused. The same thing happened the next time too.”
But the singer says he doesn’t hold a grudge over that treatment.
“I understand the level of caution that needs to be taken, especially now, in the light of certain events at home,” he tells the paper. “I don’t think there’s any benefit to getting angry — it’s something that comes with the climate. I understand why they’ve got to do it.”
While Zayn isn’t a practicing Muslim, he says, “I was raised in the Islamic faith, so it will always be with me, and I identify a lot with the culture.” But he fails to understand why so many young British Muslims have become radicalized.
“I don’t know how to figure out the psychology of why people do it. And I don’t know the remedy for it,” he tells the paper. “I just wish people had more love and care and compassion for other human beings.”