Muslim woman returning from honeymoon detained at airport for reading book about Syria


It seems with the world is going, if you as much as look remotely Muslim, get ready to be harassed.

Faizah Shaheen just returned from her honeymoon in Marmaris, Turkey via Thompson Airways on July 25 when she was approached by officers. Apparently she was stopped and detained because a cabin crew member had raised concerns when she flew out two weeks earlier when she was spotted reading a book on Syria.

On her arrival at Robin Hood Doncaster Airport, she was questioned by South Yorkshire Police, she told The Independent .

The 27 year old newlywed, from Leeds, was spoken to for 15 minutes by officers because, she says, she had been reading award-winning book Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline by Malu Halasa.

Ms Shaheen says she believes she has been discriminated against as a Muslim.

“I was completely innocent – I was made to feel like a culprit,” she says, adding that she had noticed officers watching her at passport control before she was approached and subsequently detained.

“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,” she adds.

The officers cited Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 , which provides stop and detention powers in ports and airports where ‘examining officers’ are able to stop, question and/or detain people to ascertain whether they are likely to be engaged in acts of terrorism, without the need for any reasonable suspicion.

The NHS worker, who says that her work with child and adolescent mental health services includes anti-radicalisation programmes, says the stereotypes must be broken and calls her own experience “hurtful”.

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“Instead of reminiscing about our honeymoon I am left talking about this experience,” she says, questioning if it may have been different if someone who wasn’t Muslim was reading the book.

Although Thomson Airways said it was aware of how Ms Shaheen must have felt, it says its crew are responsible for reporting anything they may have “concerns” about.

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