British Muslim detained for reading a book about Syria while on a plane

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Gosh the book wasn’t even in that mooslim writing? It’s in real English letters? Then what gave her away?


If you see something, say something…stupid, like "anyone with anything associated with the region or religion that I associate with terrorism must be a terrorist!


The attendant who reported her deserves a copy of that book.


Meanwhile, last flight I was on I was reading a book about terrorism (“Days of Rage”). Pleasantly surprised no one pulled me aside over that.


What was the Bruce Schneier quip?

“if you ask amateurs to act as front-line security personnel, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get amateur security. People don’t need to be reminded to call the police; the slogan is nothing more than an invitation to report people who are different.”

Racist FAs are getting out of hand.

ETA: Note to self- bring a book cover the next time I’m in the godforsaken position of having to fly somewhere.

“What are you readi-”

“Mind your own business!”

ETAA: The irony of it is that I’d probably get “reported” for that.

“Is that swarthy looking guy making his book wear a burqa?!”


The upshot is: carry a book with a little Arabic-looking script on the cover and you can plant it on anyone that annoys you.


I tend to have a hair trigger about this sort of thing, as by and large they are all

but in this case, I have to say, I get where the crew member was coming from. If someone had done something when Shamima Begum, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase were traveling to Turkey as was done with Jaila Nadra maybe - just maybe - things would have turned out better for them. Young women traveling to Syria via Turkey is a real thing that has shattered families. Should people do nothing when they see a young woman traveling to Turkey & reading up on Syria? I don’t know - but let’s don’t for a second pretend the answer is simple.

False positives are absolutely unfortunate - and normally I’m infuriated by them - but this is the world we have given our leaders carte blanche to create on our behalf.


As though a terrorist would draw attention to themselves by reading a terrorism-related book in public. Did the IRA bomb-makers read books about making bombs on the bus during their campaign on the British mainland?


“A British woman of Muslim descent…”

Is Muslim an ethnicity?

Then I’m an American male of Christian descent. Yuk!


FWIW, Doncaster is where the last UKIP party convention was held.

I’m surprised their airport has flights to Turkey; I wonder if that will stop after Brexit?

I think this is not a terrible point.


On what basis? The number of middle-eastern/south-western-asian women travelling to and from the Middle East and South-West Asia makes it impractical to stop all of them to check if they’re on a legit trip, even if you restrict your attentions to book readers and other dangerous intellectuals. Reading a book, even if it’s The Anarchist Cookbook, let alone a book about the part of the world you’re travelling to, isn’t enough reason to report a suspicion to the police in any sensible world.

From the point of view of my aged-beyond-conception 55 years, 27 is indeed a “young” woman, but the fact is Shaheen is more than old enough to travel alone and read a book unsupervised and without interference.


You’re absolutely right - the answer is indeed not simple.


Should people do nothing when they see a young woman traveling to Turkey & reading up on Syria?



Eh, it’s a culture (several actually) as well as a religion. I don’t think the word’s being misused. You could say “background,” but that might have negative connotations.


Thoughtcrime. Duh.


The airport security wasn’t really at fault here. The flight attendant on a charter flight reported suspicions, the security at passport control were following procedure, and didn’t seem to escalate anything; they delayed her for 15 minutes while they questioned her and checked her story, then let her go.

The flight attendant obviously overreacted, and for sure it is a consequence of racism, but should the UK just ignore the problem @jamesnsc raises? There are over 1500 UK citizens fighting for ISIS now, even the victim in this story at trying to counter radicalization in young people, I would be surprised if the set of criteria governing which young people she works with doesn’t also have a racist component.

The airport security did not give undue credence to the suspicions raised by the flight attendant. I think that the focus should be on making sure that that reaction on the part of security remains the case.

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Well no. For lots of reasons including the way that there were very few bombs In England. Europe is the mainland which Ireland and Britain are islands off. And the way that bombers already lived in England.

Funnily enough when the English security services were looking for people to frame, travelling people were handiest to detain, torture, and convict.

Edit: and I am very lucky given that one night when we were up having fun and singing and all that near some military pageant in London and found ourselves surrounded with snipers and paramilitary police who climbed over the rooftops the English police were very professional and I only got dragged in for interrogation and made to answer for everything in my baggage for years and pulled into interrogation rooms when travelling between England and Ireland but never sequestered alone or tortured.

Which has and does happen.

Which reminds me: torture.


You get an assumption of where the crew member was coming from and nothing more. As for the harassed profilee, what I get is that they were coming from Turkey when the complaint was actually acted upon.

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But remember, Islam isn’t a religion, it’s an ideology!

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