Tuesday, August 27, 2019

88% of persons detained at UK airports are Muslim – “structural Islamophobia” says human rights group

Muslims are being detained at airports for up to 6 hours by law enforcement using controversial counter-terrorism powers so disproportionately that the practice has become Islamophobic, according to human rights group Cage.  

The organization claims that recently "a number of Muslim women have been asked to remove their hijab when stopped".  

And adds that: "This request seems not to correlate with any appropriate investigation in relation to any form of terrorism, but seems to be a form of humiliation that can amount to a breach of equalities legislation".  

Cage said it had made a compliant to the policing regulator, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, on behalf of 10 people and had written to MPs on the all-party group on British Muslims to spell out the extent of its concerns with so-called schedule 7 stops.  

In the letter, Adnan Siddiqui, the director of Cage, said that 10s of thousands of people were being subject to "suspicionless stops" and that "the practice is a manifestation of structural Islamophobia, that's experienced as harassment".  

A Cambridge University study concluded that 88% of those stopped under Schedule 7 were Muslim.
Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 allows people to be detained at the border for up to 6 hours if law enforcement is concerned they could be engaged in terrorist activities.  

Detainees have no right to silence, must surrender their phones, computers and passwords and provide fingerprints and DNA on request.  

One Muslim, Omer, who asked only to be identified by his first name, told the Guardian he had been stopped 40 times when returning to the UK since 2005 but has never been convicted of any offense.  

Omer said: "I get stopped 95% of the time, coming back from Belgium, France and Italy." He said he had become so fed up with being repeatedly questioned he often used one-word answers to reply.  

A woman returning from Mecca was stopped and held at an airport for 5 hours, according to the Cage dossier, despite having felt unwell on the plane. She was separated from her husband and son, asked for fingerprints, a DNA sample, her luggage was searched and her phone taken.  

The woman was asked what she thought about the 2017 Westminster terror attack and wars in Syria and Yemen. "I said I didn’t agree with killing innocent people", she recalled, before being released, having been told "you've complied with the laws".

Muslims stopped say that questions frequently focus on their religious beliefs and they're asked if they pray frequently, if they fast and if they've been to Mecca.  

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The use of Schedule 7 is vital to the police in their work to combat terrorism and the authors of this report are clearly misrepresenting facts to fit their own predetermined conclusions."  

https://voiceofeurope.com/2019/08/88-percent-of-persons-detained-at-uk-airports-are-muslim-structural-islamophobia-says-human-rights-group/

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