Wednesday 26 October 2016

Muslim siblings hauled off easyJet flight after claims they were looking at Isil propaganda on phones

Ben Farmer

Published 23/08/2016 | 19:45

An easyJet flight. Photo: PA Wire/Press Association Images
An easyJet flight. Photo: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Three siblings have said they were hauled off an easyJet plane for questioning by counter terrorism officers after a fellow passenger made false allegations they were looking at Islamic State propaganda on their phones.

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Sakina Dharas and her brother and sister were interrogated on the tarmac for an hour as the plane waited after the anonymous denunciation which she believes was made maliciously because she was wearing a headscarf.

The airline has now apologised after the incident at Stansted last week as the three were heading to Naples for a weekend getaway.

Ms Dharas, a pharmacist from north west London, said she and her brother Ali and sister Maryam, both students, were escorted off the plane by a stewardess minutes after taking their seats.

Counter terrorism officers told them a fellow passenger had “told us that you are members of Isil and they have seen material on your phone”, she said.

After checking their phones and passports, the family were allowed back on the flight, which had been delayed for an hour.

She said the only religious or Arabic material she had on her phone was an electronic copy of the Koran which she had not been looking at the time.

Ms Dharas said: “What really upsets me is that the accusers were not brought out of the plane and questioned at the same time.”

A spokesman for easyJet said the three had been taken off the flight "following concerns raised by a passenger”.

“The police then confirmed to the captain that the passengers were cleared to complete their journey and they reboarded the aircraft and the flight departed to Naples.

“The safety and security of its passengers and crew is our highest priority which means that if a security concern is raised we will always investigate it as a precautionary measure.

 “We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused to the passengers."

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