Advertisement

Muslim woman detained for ‘suspicious behaviour’ while reading book about Syria during flight

Muslim woman detained for ‘suspicious behaviour’ while reading book about Syria on flight
WATCH: A British Muslim woman was detained by security for "suspicious behaviour" while flying from Turkey to England on July 27.

Faizah Shaheen, a British Muslim woman, was detained by airport security while returning to England from her honeymoon in Turkey after a flight attendant reported her for “suspicious behaviour” while reading a book about Syria.

The Independent reports that Shaheen, an employee with UK’s National Health Service, was questioned for 15 minutes by authorities at Doncaster Sheffield Airport in South Yorkshire who were using their powers under the UK’s Terrorism Act.

Shaheen said while being questioned, officers told her a Thomson Airways flight attendant had reported her for “suspicious behaviour” during a flight. The incident occurred on July 25, according to South Yorkshire Police.

READ MORE: Does Donald Trump still want to ban Muslims? A look at Trump’s ever-changing language

“I asked what was going on and they said I had been reported due to a book I was reading and was to be questioned under the Terrorism Act,” Shaheen told The Independent. “I became very angry and upset. I couldn’t understand how reading a book could cause people to suspect me like this. I told the police that I didn’t think it was right or acceptable.”

Story continues below advertisement

The book in question, titled Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline, is a collection of essays, short stories, poems, cartoons and photographs from over 50 Syrian authors and artists “who are challenging the culture of violence in Syria.”

WATCH: Muslim women capture Islamophobic attack in U.K. on camera

Muslim women capture Islamophobic attack in U.K. on camera
Muslim women capture Islamophobic attack in U.K. on camera

READ MORE: England sees a disturbing wave of hate crime in the wake of Brexit vote

Shaheen works with teens with mental illness and also helps to prevent teens from becoming radicalized.

“Ironically, a part of my job role is working on anti-radicalisation and assessing vulnerable young people with mental health problems who are at risk of being radicalised,” she said.

In a statement to British media outlets Thomson Airways said it recognizes that “in this instance Ms. Shaheen may have felt that over caution had been exercised over caution However, like all airlines, our crew are trained to report and concerns they may have as a precaution.”

Incidents occurring in the U.S.

In a separate incident in the U.S, two Muslim women were removed from an American Airlines flight earlier this week after an airline attendant said they made him feel “threatened” and “unsafe.”

Story continues below advertisement

Niala Mohammad, a multimedia journalist with the government-funded news outlet Voice of America and her friend, who works for the U.S. government and does not want to be identified, stated they were thrown off the plane because they were Muslim.

In a Facebook post, Mohammad wrote that the plane travelling from Miami to Washington D.C. on August 2 had been delayed for five hours.  She said her friend started talking about the delay and the lack of customer service with another passenger when the male flight attendant allegedly singled her out saying: “If you have a problem, you can get off the plane.”

READ MORE: Muslim woman speaks out following attack at grocery store in London, Ont.

Mohammad and her friend then tried to take a photo of the flight attendant who was not wearing a name tag so they could file a complaint.

A federal agent later escorted Mohammad and her companion from the plane because they were told the flight attendant had complained, saying he “felt threatened” by the pair.

READ MORE: Spree of anti-Muslim attacks across U.S. during Ramadan: Islamic group

The two women were offered seats on the next available flight and received a $200 credit voucher and $24 food voucher.

“Although we were encouraged to document the incident to AA customer relations, we still experienced insult and embarrassment as two minority Muslim-American women,” Mohammad wrote on Facebook. “For being such a ‘threat’ to an AA attendant, it’s telling that the Miami-Dade police officers joked with us and posed for this picture with the ‘pretty harmless’ airplane menaces.”

Tweet This
Story continues below advertisement

A spokesperson for American Airlines said the male flight attendant observed the passenger taking pictures and asked her to stop. When she did not, the attendant had her removed from the plane.

“The passenger was not removed for taking the picture,” said spokeswoman Alexis Aran Coello, told Voice of America. “The passenger was removed because she did not comply with the request from the flight attendant.”

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it is seeing more and more reports of discrimination against Muslims across the U.S., including a Muslim couple in Ohio who were allegedly removed from a Delta Airline flight.

WATCH: Ohio couple fighting back after they said they were kicked off a Delta Air Lines flight from Paris last month because of the way they looked, ruining their anniversary trip.

Muslim couple alleges they were kicked off Delta Airlines flight from Paris
Muslim couple alleges they were kicked off Delta Airlines flight from Paris

“We are seeing a significant increase in discrimination against Muslims across the country these days,” Karen Dabdoub, executive director of CAIR’s Cincinnati Office, told Global News.

“Historically we see this happen during presidential election season. And this particular presidential season has been one of the most vitriolic in regards to Muslims.”

CAIR-Cincinnati has filed a complaint against Delta with the U.S. Department of Transportation on behalf of the couple who were removed from a flight.

Story continues below advertisement

“As far as we were able to determine the couple was kicked off the flight because the flight attendant did not feel comfortable having them on the flight,” said Dabdoub.