Faizah Shaheen was imprisoned after an airline gang member reported her for suspicious activity on a flight to Turkey
Free-speech radicals have condemned the detention of a British Muslim woman after a cabin-crew member reported her for suspicious practices while read a book about Syrian culture on a flight to Turkey.
Faizah Shaheen, a psychotherapist in Leeds, was were arrested by police at Doncaster airport on 25 July, on her return from her honeymoon in Turkey. A Thomson Airways cabin-crew member had reported Shaheen on her outbound flight two weeks earlier, as she was reading the title Syria Speaks: Skill and Culture from the Frontline.
Police officers wondered Shaheen for 15 instants under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, under which the police can incarcerate mortals without dirts for mistrust of involvement in criminal activities, including terrorism.
Shaheen, whose work in the NHS includes efforts to stop radicalisation among young mental health cases, told the Independent she intends to make formal complaints against the police: I was completely innocent I was made to feel like a perpetrator I couldnt understand how read a volume could generate parties to believe me like this. I told the police that I didnt think it was right or acceptable. I do question if it would be different if it was someone who wasnt Muslim.
A collection of essays and pennings by more than 50 masters on objection the culture of violence in the country, Syria Speaks was published by British imprint Saqi Books in 2014. It received positive reviews from the likes of musician Brian Eno and writer AL Kennedy, who described it as a prudent, fearless, ingenious and beautiful response to all that is ugly in human behaviour.
Jo Glanville, chairman of English PEN which supported the books brochure with a grant towards rendition said Thomson Airways should be highly flustered about this gross act of misjudgment.
The current culture of feeling around bigotry now means that even our reading material has become sand for distrust of terrorist activity, she said. The liberty to read any volume , no matter the subject, is an essential cornerstone of our immunity. Glanville also announced Schedule 7 a sustaining question and said it was overdue for reform.
Zaher Omareen, the co-editor of Syria Speaks, criticized Shaheens detention as a reprehensible incident.
Judging individuals and even taking measures against them based on their race, their searches, their language, or the printed texts they carry is inappropriate and unjustifiable, Omareen said. It was enough to carry a book which includes the word Syria in its deed for its owner to be under suspicion as a potential gunman. I would like to remind the person or persons and the governmental forces that Syria must not be reduced to the politicised and power-constructed soundbites carrying naive contents of violence and horror.
In a statement, a Thomson Airways spokesman said: Our crew undergo general safety and security awareness discipline on a regular basis. As part of this they are encouraged to be vigilant and share any datum or themes with the appropriate authority. We appreciate that in this instance Ms Shaheen may have felt that overcaution had been employed. However, like all airlines, our crew are trained to report any concerns they may have as a precaution.
Lynn Gaspard, the managing director of Saqi Books said: If Faizah goes in contact, I would be happy to invite her to our bookshop in west London and offer her any of our titles.