SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A man who flew from India to the United Arab Emirates said an airport passport control officer tried to force him to shave off his mustache.
Software engineer Sujeev Kumar said he flew from Thiruvananthapuram, India, to Sharjah in the UAE Friday and a passport control officer at the Sharjah airport showed an odd interest in his facial hair, Gulf News reported Tuesday.
"After stamping my passport, he kept looking at me and the picture in the passport. He asked me how I keep my moustache brushed and laughed," Kumar said.
He said the man continued to ask questions about his mustache and made comments about the facial hair to his colleagues and other passengers.
"He finally told me: 'If you agree to shave off your moustache, I will let you to go' and kept my passport with him," Kumar said.
Kumar said he thought the comment was a joke and asked for his passport back.
"He kept my passport and told me very seriously again to remove my moustache if I wanted it back and called the next person in line," he said. "I started arguing with him and only after asking to speak to his superior officer he returned my passport and allowed me to proceed."
Kumar said there is nothing unusual about the style of his mustache.
"I have lived in the UAE for more than nine years, and I have never faced such a situation before -- it was very unusual," Kumar said.
Abdullah Bin Sahoo, director general of the Sharjah Department of Naturalization and Foreign Affairs, said his department is investigating the incident.