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Are Muslim Passengers Being Mistreated At Airports?

Written by Arnaud Mafille Friday, 30 November 2012
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Schedule 7 is a counter terrorism power allowing officers at ports and airports to stop, question or detain a person for up to 9 hours, search them and their belongings and question them on their political, social and religious views. Officers can do this without the individual being given the right to legal representation at the port and they can also take the person’s DNA or fingerprint sample which is placed on the same database as convicted terrorists regardless of innocence. Due to the way the powers have been constructed, there is an obligation to answer all the questions of the officials. 

A number of Muslims, especially young males, have been subjected to schedule 7. We know that this power is used to gather intelligence on communities across the UK and that it is causing fear and resentment towards the police and policymakers. Communities, including Muslims, should not have to fear being subjected to this power and this gives us the best opportunity to try to influence the outcome.

Statistics released by the Home Office (see table 1) show that people from ethnic backgrounds, especially those from Pakistani backgrounds, are more likely to be subjected to searches taking over an hour or being detained for up to 9 hours when compared to people from 'White' backgrounds . This shows that there is a degree of profiling at ports particularly in light of the relatively low numbers of convictions.

 

Join our discussion about the treatment of Muslims at British airports.

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