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Tue, Jul 10, 2007

Pilot Removes Muslim From Flight Following Prayer Request

Muslim Group Appeals To Man To Come Forward "To Gain Resolution"

The recent bombing attempt at Glasgow Airport has started an apparent ripple effect of trepidation. The pilot of a Thomsonfly jet ordered a young man off an aircraft last week, after the man asked permission to pray before the flight commenced, according to the Newcastle Sun.

The young Muslim reportedly boarded the flight at England's Newcastle International Airport, for a trip to Malaga, Spain with a group of friends. He asked the cabin crew for permission use a curtained-off galley area for prayers before the plane took off.

When the flight attendant asked the captain, the pilot not only removed the young man off the flight... but local authorities were notified and the man was detained and searched under current terrorism laws.

Northumbria Police officers found a bottle of water, presumably for traditional pre-prayer cleansing and a compass customarily used to indicate the proper direction to the city of Mecca and a traditional prayer mat.

"We were called to the airport... after concerns were raised about a passenger," said a police spokeswoman. "We attended and searched the man and found that no offense had been committed and everything was in order. The man was not arrested."

The flight, TOM 4125, took off an hour later than its scheduled departure time.

The executive leader of the counter-terrorism section of the Muslim Safety Forum, Azad Ali, appealed through the newspaper for the evicted man to contact them.

"If the man feels hard done by then he will be upset by this. If he feels it difficult to gain resolution in Newcastle he can log onto our website and email us his details," he said.

"We will then go to the Association of Chief Police Officers and ask them to look into it. However, it looks as if the airline itself is guilty of over reaction in this incident. There is a tendency for some people to blame an entire community for the actions of individuals. It's guilt by association."

"The captain has the right to remove passengers from a flight if he feels their behavior is detrimental to other customers. For legal reasons, we are unable to comment any further," said a spokeswoman for the carrier.

FMI: www.thomsonfly.com/en, www.newcastleairport.com, www.muslimsafetyforum.org

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