Friday, May 18, 2007

"Beard Got Me Stopped"

A local paper is reporting that an airline worker was stopped by anti-terror police on his return from Pakistan. They questioned the man for 45 minutes and checked his luggage. One of the questions was why he had taken such a long flight for just a few days.

The man worked at the airport and had a security pass but this didn't prevent his questioning. He also had a friend who works for Special Branch at the airport who didn't stop the questioning. This is as it should be, if the flags are raised then questioning shouldn't be stopped because the man has a 10 year old security pass, or because a friend can vouch for him. The security services have a job to do and they should do it properly.

However, what might turn this into a national story is the man's claim that:

Part of my job relates to aircraft and passenger security and I know for a fact they stopped me just because I have a beard. To be treated in this way because I have a beard is absolutely staggering.
How does he know this as a fact? Has he seen any orders demanding that people with beards be stopped at airports? Wait for the inevitable claims of Islamophobia, that this innocent man was harassed only because he was a Muslim. Don't be surprised to hear the phrase "racial profiling" and then claims that the security services are unfairly targeting Muslims. And all based on an unfounded claim that "my beard got me stopped".