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

I’m sure Muslim women everywhere are breathing a huge sigh of relief now they know they have you protecting them and their delicate sensibilities.


That’s not even remotely close to what I was getting at and I think it pretty underhanded of you to suggest such.


“Anyone who looks vaguely Middle Eastern or Central Asian that annoys you”


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Well lets see where your approach of authoritarian intervention gets us in addressing the issue at hand… oh right. It get’s a psychotherapist working with the NHS to help prevent radicalization of youth detained and questioned by police.

I’m standing by my comment.


What approach? All I did was empathize with another human being and call attention to the fact that oversimplification isn’t realistic.

You replied with a personal attack & that’s not cool.

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The article is crystal clear. She is a 27 year old professional detained under the terrorism act and it was ridiculous to report her activity as suspicious. You are basically suggesting that all reporting of Muslim women travelling to Turkey is justified because they might be “Jihadi brides”.

I’m saying the bar for suspicion needs to be a lot higher than “Muslim woman”, and your suggestion that such profiling is justified is clumsy at absolute best.

If I’ve hurt your feelings, I apologise. But I think you’ve put forward a very wrong headed if well intentioned justification for racial profiling on airlines.


[quote=“robulus, post:26, topic:82795”]
I’m saying the bar for suspicion needs to be a lot higher than “Muslim woman”, [/quote]

Oh, is that what I was supposed to decipher from:


I made no such suggestion that it is justified- only that I’m capable of understanding how someone in this situation might arrive at their conclusion.

One could read a bit into what I said and come away with the fact that if “we” do this:

…we are fools if we think these interactions are going to be simple as absolutely none of this happens in a bubble.

Empathizing with one someone doesn’t agree with doesn’t mean one is trying to justify their actions.

FWIW: if you disagree, attack the idea not the person.


So if a middle aged white Christian guy is travelling to Europe and reading a book about WWII, and they have a page open with a picture of Hitler, it would make sense to detain them under the anti-terrorism act, right? I mean, they are white and Christian, there’s growing neo-nazi activity in Europe, and they had a book with a picture of Hitler. So a reasonable FA might arrive at the conclusion that they were involved in neo-nazi terrorist activity, and have them detained. Does that still make sense?

Yeah OK, get over it now.


I don’t think putting words into people’s mouths is helpful.

IS is recruiting hard for young European women to come serve as wives. It is a form of slave trade. One should be able to acknowledge that this is a problem without that acknowledgement automatically being interpreted as a defense of capricious detention.


She was detained coming BACK from Turkey.

If you want to have a separate discussion about something different, fine, but lets not pretend there’s any ambiguity here about the motivations of the flight crew and police.



The complaint was made by an attendant on the outbound flight. Didn’t you read the article?

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Yes I did, but that doesn’t offer a lot of support for the idea that they were trying to prevent trafficking in Jihadi wives, given that no action was taken when that would have helped, does it?

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sounds like a conservative nightmare… Muslim and fancy book learnin’


The airport security was responding to the flight attendant complaint the first time they could, that is, the first time the person was back on UK soil after the complaint was made. The attendant made the complaint during the outbound flight. In the context, the security response in particular seems to have been motivated purely by procedure.

There is a big issue in Europe as to what to do about citizens returning from Syria. Even uber-progressive Norway was considering stripping them of citizenship.

There have been several high-profile cases about young people getting seduced by the call of IS, and many calls to action. The loudest voices calling for action have been the families these young people left behind. It isn’t like UKIP members object to Muslims leaving the country.

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OK, so if I’m reading you right, you are saying reporting suspicious activity that could indicate young Muslim women are planning to become Jihadi wives on flights to Turkey is an understandable motivation for a flight attendant, even though they won’t be able to act on those reports if that is indeed what they are doing, and all they can do is question them when they come back into the UK?

I mean, I get that you are raising a legitimate issue here, it just doesn’t seem to add up to any sort of meaningful justification for what happened to this poor person on her honeymoon, and I’m not hearing a lot of strong arguments that well intended flight attendant intervention could really address the problem of Jihadi wives.

Edit: I think you edited that comment after I responded? That is a stronger defense of the position.


I’ve wondered the same about “Jewish.”

That’s not entirely true; in some of the cases (for example a recent one involving underaged-by-UK-standards-OK-by-IS-standards girls) the UK authorities have managed to get the Turkish authorities to intervene.


Actually the remark was about “see something say something.”

What makes it worse is that the FA on any flight should 100% know better. They’re not amateurs, and my issue is 100% with the flight attendent, not airport security or even the police. When someone calls the police to let them know something is up, I expect them to show up and ask one or two questions rather than dismiss something sight unseen.

The other thing to keep in mind is that there is are real reasons to worry about FAs and airline staff on various power trips messing with Muslims and occasionally Sikhs. This isn’t something I’m making up. You don’t fly with a funny name like I have: You don’t get it. Let me be clear: The reason I drove to Florida instead of flying last year was a conscious decision based on numerous experiences I’ve had in American and European airports and airlines since I was fifteen.

There’s more than some airy-fairy perception. We know when we’re being profiled at this point. It happens once or twice and you get the sense that maybe you’re imagining it, but when it starts to happen over and over again it gets really fucking hard to ignore. Then you fly between two Arab countries and suddenly you’re treated like any other schmuck who paid for a ticket and it’s like night and day, and you know deep down that it’s different and it brings you zero joy to find out you were right all along.

Let me put it this way: I believe her when she says she was profiled unfairly, because frankly I trust her to know whether that’s happening based on the same level of experience that I have with this bullshit. And it is bullshit and the justifications are bullshit. Human trafficking is a serious issue and FAs do play a role in detecting it. But at this point there have been enough attacks on t-shirts, books, and speaking of other languages that it can more than account for an incident like this. That the police showed up doesn’t annoy me. That a flight attendant that should absolutely know better reacted to a book with the word “Syria” is part of a larger serious problem, and I for one would like to see some movement on that problem.