UK Minister detained at Dulles airport

LLoyd sez, "The BBC today details how Shahid Malik - a Muslim Member of Parliament and the UK's current International Development Minister - was detained at Dulles Airport (Washington DC) hours after taking part in talks on tackling terrorism. He said the same thing happened to him at JFK airport in New York last year."
On that occasion he had been a keynote speaker at an event organised by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), alongside the FBI and Muslim organisations, to talk about tackling extremism and defeating terrorism.

"I am deeply disappointed," he said.

"The abusive attitude I endured last November I forgot about and I forgave, but I really do believe that British ministers and parliamentarians should be afforded the same respect and dignity at USA airports that we would bestow upon our colleagues in the Senate and Congress.

"Obviously, there was no malice involved but it has to be said that the USA system does not inspire confidence."

Link (Thanks, Lloyd!)


  1. British ministers and parliamentarians should be afforded the same respect and dignity at USA airports that we would bestow upon our colleagues in the Senate and Congress.

    So what about ordinary innocent UK and US citizens? Is it okay for them to be thrown into the gears of the terror-mill while those responsible for the mess bypass the whole thing?

    A better man would have been more inclusive:

    Innocent travellers should be afforded the same respect and dignity at USA airports that we would bestow upon our colleagues in the Senate and Congress.

  2. I agree. These political elites are there to serve us, but they think nothing of treating themselves as royalty at our expense.

  3. Presumably that’s same Shahid Malik MP who got beaten up by British riot cops a few years ago?

    Either he’s got a serious authority problem, or he’s seriously unlucky…

  4. Re s75’s comment above.

    Getting beaten up by riot police is often a matter of being at the “wrong” demonstation. Riot police are not normal policemen. They are often thugs.

    Living as if we’re in a free society should not be considered a “serious authority problem”.

  5. @s75: I would absolutely vote for someone with such a “serious authority problem”. Wouldn’t you?

  6. @Ken Hansen:

    Let’s try another “real question”: why would the DHS invite someone to be a keynote speaker at a anti-terrorism conference they organized, if the person were actually of sufficient interest to be considered worth detaining at Dulles airport (by the very same DHS, obviously)?

    Given that it’s happened twice, I’m looking for a plausible answer which doesn’t refer to incompetence or racism, but I’m not having much luck. Perhaps you can be of assistance.

  7. What happened: his bags went through the x-ray machine. DHS staff asked to look inside he bag. This proces, which lasted all of 1 minute, was what he reported as “being detained”. Yeah – well on that basis I’ve been “detained” by the DHS over 100 times. Big whoop. Gotta love that objective BBC reporting, just chock full o’ details….

  8. Monsters And Critics reports he was detained “”disappointed” to have been detained for up to an hour at Dulles airport in Washington DC particularly since he was taken aside in similar circumstances in November last year at JFK Airport in New York.”

    I’d be interested to see your source, Boomzilla. It’s possible he’s playing it up for the media, but it’s also possible he’s telling the truth. M&C also reports that his luggage was searched.

    I’m not up on TSA procedures, but I would think that an MP from the UK would be given a pass on the usual screening.

  9. Well, Boomzilla beat me to the punch… I mean, this just sounds like the standard TSA rigamaroll nowadays.

    Additionally, check out the Reddit thread on this story — as someone there points out, apparently this guy voted for similar security measures in the UK. So what’s he whining about? He made his bed, etc.

  10. Not only does the current system NOT inspire confidence, it provokes and nurtures a feeling of antipathy towards our government that makes our generally recognized hatred for the IRS pale in comparison. I really wonder if I ever will lift another finger to help anyone if it means encountering any kind of government program and its administration. I probably will, but I fully expect to regret it.

  11. There’s been a number of reports on local media in the UK saying he was detained for around 40 minutes to be questioned.

  12. The Cheney-Bush administration seems to have decided that in these troubled times, the only way to save democracy is to kill it.

  13. Don’t you understand, Mr. Malik? You are not a citizen of the empire and therefore have no rights. Even our own citizens are smart enough to realize that rights are granted at the whim of The Leader. As the axe exerts control over all the lesser sticks, so you too will learn that the U.K. and her mandarins are simply another vassal to be directed to serve our ends. Also, don’t forget that you are a brown person and you worship a different God than our Almighty God who rules by peace and love and extended invasions of foreign countries. Why, you should be thankful we don’t torture you on the spot for your insolence, bug. It is probably best that you don’t come to our country again. We know all there is about terrorism and that there hasn’t been a terrorist attack in the U.S. since 2001 (which is the only important place that terrorist attacks can happen) and do not need the help of filthy people like you who probably aren’t even really that different from a terrorist, which is why we searched you at our airport. Good day.

  14. The real question, not addressed in the pull quotes in the posting is this: “What is it in his official background that causes him to be considered a person of interest, and what has he done to mitigate/eliminate that since his previous visit?”

    I’d have a couple of other real questions, like “How can John Q. Public tell if he’s a ‘person of interest,’ how can he (or the BBC, for that matter) tell what made him a person of interest, and how can he mitigate that at all?”

  15. “Obviously, there was no malice involved…”

    Of course not, everyone was just doing their job and following orders. We are all good Germans.

  16. Surely, as a member of the UK government, he should be annoyed that he wasn’t detained for longer? After all, making everyone’s lives as unpleasant as possible and trying to keep us all scared of non-existent threats is the raison d’etre of his political life as well as that of his colleagues.
    The elephant in the room here is that he’s a Muslim and black – that’s partly why he was stopped, obviously (and no, I’m not condoning it). The rest of the reason? He’s being treated no different to the rest of us. Tough. Welcome to the world you have done more than most to create Mr Malik. Don’t believe it? Let’s check your voting record:

    Has never voted on a transparent Parliament.
    Voted strongly for introducing ID cards.
    Voted very strongly for Labour’s anti-terrorism laws.
    Voted very strongly against investigating the Iraq war.
    (from his voting record at

    In other words, an odious yes man. Can I suggest, Mr Malik, that you might, just might, be open to charges of rank hypocrisy? Can I also explain to you that you have forever surrendered your right to complain about any such treatment at airports.
    (I want to swear here such is my anger at this vile man’s arrogance but I shall desist and go my powerless way, probably having ensured that I am now on the US government’s Watchlist – ah well, rendition for me; that way, I understand, you avoid customs altogether).

  17. To all the folks referring to Malik as a ‘PM’ in the United Kingdom, PM = Prime Minister = Gordon Brown. Malik is an MP = Member of Parliament.

  18. Hmmm. . . Ted Kennedy and a British (and Muslim) PM were detained by the TSA. So, have any conservative politicians ever been detained by the TSA?

    Unfortunately, a real terrorist probably won’t be foolish enough to be so obvious as to use a real passport with an Arab (or even possibly Arab) name on it. He (or she) will have dyed their hair blonde, be wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and traveling under the name “Michael Hunt.”

  19. (Yeah, I actually KNOW that it’s supposed to me MP and not PM. . . and yet I STILL typed PM for some reason.)

  20. perhaps you might want to consider the fact that Shahid Malik was a representative of HMG travelling on official business to the U.S. He was requested by the U.S to be there. as such it is deeply skanky and what constitutes an international incident to detain , arrest and interrogate a British diplomat. Especially for the crime of walking whilst being Muslim.

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