I was on this flight from malaga on wednesday!
I was sat right at the back and these two men were right at the front and so by the time any information had been sent back to us, it had been suitable chinese whispered!
My first reaction was that some passengers were just too inherently racist and far too scared by the threat of a terrorist plot!
When we got off the plane we heard from staff little tid bits of informations. For example the men had 2 passports, an english and an arabic. The english passports were brand new (within a week or so) and had different naems and addresses to the arabic passports. The two men had also flown to malaga that morning, with no luggage. ALSO that one of the men walked on with a laptop in a bad, but walked off with only the bag.
It was easy to see how easy scare-mogering would have been at 4 in the morning when everyone was tired and dragged off a plane because of a possible terrorist attack, especially on the day that the planned attacks were meant to have taken place.
Now that i know they WEREN'T dodgy, i feel for the men but they didn't make a fuss, they accepted their fate and i think it was very noble.
Overall, i think that the british public have become both a bit too intolerant and slightly too terrorised!
I certainly WOULD have flown with those 2 men on board and wouldn't have batted an eyelid, however i was sat on the other side of the plane and didn't see them acting in the dodgy way they were reported to have been....
what do you all think?
Anger over plane ban Muslims
Stewart Maclean / London Mirror | August 21 2006
MUSLIM leaders yesterday blasted British passengers who staged a mutiny on a holiday jet after accusing two innocent Asian men of being terrorists.
The packed flight from Malaga to Manchester was delayed more than three hours after worried trippers stormed off and refused to fly until the British-born Muslims were removed.
The pair - later cleared by police - aroused suspicions by speaking Arabic and wearing heavy overcoats in the Mediterranean heat.
But yesterday angry Muslim elders slammed airline chiefs for over-reacting. Muslim Association of Britain spokesman Ismail Farhat said: "Wearing a coat in summer doesn't make someone a terrorist. It's absolutely disgraceful.
"These two innocent young men were treated like terrorists for no reason. It's just racist prejudice."
The drama unfolded last Wednesday on the 3am Monarch flight from Malaga. Several passengers, many with young families, refused to board after spotting the two Asian men in coats and jumpers in the departure lounge.
And more stormed off the Airbus 320 shortly before take-off when word spread that they had been overheard talking in Arabic. The men - in their 20s - were then escorted off flight ZB613 by armed Spanish airport police and quizzed before later being cleared to return to Britain.
The packed holiday jet, with 150 passengers and seven crew, was emptied and searched.
Passengers later defended their actions and said the pair had also continually checked their watches before boarding.
College lecturer Jo Schofield, 38, said: "People had been talking about them. They looked dodgy." Husband Heath, 40, added: "Some passengers were panicky and in tears. There was a lot of talk about terrorism."
Muslim Council of Britain boss Muhammad Abdul Bari said last night: "While it is sensible for all of us to be vigilant, it is not sensible to pick on Muslims simply because they happen to dress differently or appear to be speaking to each other in Arabic."
A Monarch spokesman said: "The captain was concerned about the security surrounding the two gentlemen and the decision was taken to remove them for further security checks."
A mixed race woman (black/white) posted this on another forum and said it was blatant racism and askin to banning black people on buses. The thing is, how can we actually be politically correct when trying to keep our country secure? I suppose this is how the terrorists think they will win, by encouraging discrimination and more racial tension through suspicion.
I don't really like the way the above article is written. People are bound to be nervous about travelling at the moment and are also bound to be nervous of those who are of obvious ethnic origin and who appear to act shifty. Even though this form of discrimination was based upon appearance I find it difficult to condone the behaviour of the passengers as being properly racist because I believe people are on edge and scared, even though I know that if I were a Muslim and was in this situation I would be deeply offended. It's not the traditional "your skin is a different colour and I am therefore better than you" racism, it's more of a "your skin is a different colour and there have been similar looking people to you in the news recently who have attempted terrorist attacks and I am scared" racism.
Anyone have any thoughts? What if these men had turned out to be terrorists or up to something dodgy, do you think people would be so PC about being suspicious? I don't think anyone wants to have to be suspicious of those who are different to themselves and I don't think the majority of people condone it, it's just bloody terrorism disrupting the peace the way that extremist groups want.
I was going to post this anyway and found your topic, so I'm posting it here. I do agree that the UK is too terrorised. It was also interesting to read that you were on this flight and from what you've said I do feel for the men who were subjected to this.
So on the one hand we're told to be on the lookout for terrorists, be aware and report suspicions and on the other hand people are lambasted and condemned for doing exactly that. And of course the Muslim community reacts with its usual feigned confusion about why such things occur, like it's absolutely absurd that Muslims could act suspiciously. Fact is, their looks and language probably did contribute to the suspicion substantially, but similarly so did probably their age, their clothing, their manner and other things. Thousands of muslims continue to fly in and out of Britain unhindered - 2 being the subject of suspicion does not demonstrate any general feeling.
I reckon they deliberately tried to scare other passengers by acting very odd (especially since at that time everyone was worried over security). Looks like they were too successful though and were chucked off the flight.
I think that this is slightly worrying in terms of the fact that asians/arabs will have to be careful about what they wear and say, but to be honest, I think that safer is better than sorry. (Reffering to the generally stringent security checks in airports)
However, I don't think its the place of passengers to decide with whom they will/will not fly, that is what security forces have been trained and employed for. I doubt very much that an actual terrorist is going to be so obvious that a general observer would notice them. The very fact that people are so obviously overacting, will eventually cause the terrorists to become more seemingly innocuous.
On the other hand, asians/arabs will have to be more careful what they say and where in future, you can call it racism, but I doubt anything is going to change, its like when travelling to an Arab country, you know not to wear very revealing clothes (assuming you inthe least bit culturally concious), likewise arabs/asians will have to realise that they will have to tone down their cultural background, at least in public, so as not to bring undue attention to themselves, and thus not have any inconveniences. I mean, the musilm doctor in the US must have know he would cause trouble by reciting the travelers prayer before flying out loud.
So as I conclude, I think that the trouble caused for the two gentlemen should have been initially instigated by security/police before they boarded the flight, or not at all, but also that they should have perhaps been a little more careful, since they should have been aware of the current climate of fear.