One Direction star Zayn Malik has opened up about racial profiling and revealed that he had to undergo "three security checks" before even boarding his first flight to America at the age of 17.
The British Muslim star in a candid interview with Britain's Evening Standard said he was then "detained for three hours" by immigration after arriving in the US. Malik went to the States for the first time with his One Direction band mates Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan - but no one else was stopped.
"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," The Pillowtalk singer revealed,
The singer, who is in a relationship with model Gigi Hadid, continued, "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."
The pop star, who's father Yaser is Pakistani and mother Tricia converted to Islam upon marrying, admitted he is not a practising Muslim but holds Islam close to his heart.
"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," he said.
He decided to quit One Direction in March 2015 to pursue a solo career and has recently collaborated with Taylor Swift on the single I Don't Wanna Live Forever as part of the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack.