A Muslim man from Derby has accused Birmingham airport and West Midlands Police of discrimination and profiling after he exited a plane with his family only to be stopped by airport police – for what he claims is the 50th time.
Ahmed Ali was with his disabled grandmother when police questioned him for an hour, The Derby Telegraph reports.
Ali, who works with Unite4Humanity, an international aid charity, said his grandma had cried after hearing about the incident.
They had been coming back from Saudi Arabia after they went on Umrah, a pilgrimage undertaken by hundreds of thousands of Muslims every year.
He said he was stopped by police upon reaching Birmingham Airport, even though he did nothing wrong.
"I’ve been stopped with my kids and my family but this time it was with my grandma and it just ruined her pilgrimage," he said.
Ali, 42, had been pushing his elderly grandma, who was in a wheelchair, through the disabled check-in area of Birmingham Airport on New Year’s Eve when he was taken aside by West Midlands Police for counter-terrorism checks.
This is the 50th time Ali has been stopped in this manner, he claims, despite having never been convicted of having any extremist views.
He said that he refused to go into a room as the police requested because it would have held them up for "hours". Ali claimed the police threatened to "charge him" without specifying what those charges would be.
"After I made a fuss," he continued, "they eventually let me go because they had nothing to charge against me. If they did charge me, it would help everyone who had a beard at airports."
It’s either profiling which is illegal, harassment which is also illegal or discrimination.
It’s ridiculous. It’s broken. I am a Muslim but I don’t go to any of the hotspots like Syria. I just feel vilified because I’m a Muslim and I have a beard.
West Midlands Police confirmed to the Derby Telegraph that a ’42-year-old man’ had been stopped on New Year’s Eve 2018 and released after checked had been conducted.
An Airport Spokesperson told indy100: 'This is a police matter so we cannot comment any further.'
Indy100 has contacted Mr Ali and West Midlands Police for comment.