Zayn Malik has opened up about his past experiences of being discriminated against as a British Muslim, specifically detailing one incident at an airport.
In a new interview with the Evening Standard, the ‘Pillowtalk’ singer described an incident that occurred during the early days of his fame with One Direction, when he was held for three hours at the age of 17 by airport security.
He explained: “The first time I came to America, I had three security checks before I got on the plane; 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. 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 off the plane, confused. The same thing happened the next time too.”
Addressing how he feels about these events in hindsight, he insisted: “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.”
During the interview, Zayn was also asked his feelings about being a high-profile British Muslim, claiming: “I take a great sense of pride — and responsibility — in knowing that I am the first of my kind, from my background.
“I’m not currently practising but I was raised in the Islamic faith, so it will always be with me, and I identify a lot with the culture. But I’m just me. I don’t want to be defined by my religion or my cultural background.”
Read his full interview with the Evening Standard here.