Kolkata, June 15: The Orlando Shootout on Sunday last has shaken the world and has re-instated fear of Muslims in many parts of the world.
However, the fact that not all Muslims are terrorists comes to light when we remember the humiliation faced by singer, maestro Ustad Rashid Khan. Narrating his humiliation in the hands of US officials, Khan remembers his journey from New Jersey to San Francisco.
While on flight, three passengers went to the pilot and said that they were feeling uncomfortable because of him. He further added, "There were only six passengers on the flight. Three of us were from India and the other three made these complaints. The pilot came up to us and requested us to shift back. We had to agree!"
He recounts that the situation was not this bad till 1993. He said, "Between 1989 and 1993, a trip to America wasn't this difficult. We would go there and perform. Now, my students say that visas often get rejected. Even if the visas come through, crossing the immigration is a huge hurdle. There is always the fear that one might not be able to cross the immigration counter. We might get deported. Ekdon baijjoti hoye jae (It's utter humiliating)."
He asserts that Muslims are not targetted alone. "Many of my other Indian students also face the same problems. Once I had a concert in Canada and America. I had gone to Canada but my American visa hadn't come through. I actually had to fly down from Canada to Kolkata for a day to collect my American visa and then fly back to America for my next concert. This took a toll on my health too. Now, I have given up on the idea of flying to America for a concert."
Meanwhile, condemning the Orlando shootout, he said, "The shootout was a very bad incident. But one shouldn't associate that incident and target all Muslims. We are musicians. We go to other countries for cultural exchanges. It is extremely humiliating if we have to face the brunt of person's action with whom we have no connection."
Khan last visited the US in 2007. He concluded, "I go to all other countries but not the US. I have just returned from London after a concert. India might have a lot of problems. We might be fighting among ourselves. But it is still better to stay in my country than go through such humiliation abroad just because of my colour and religion."