A British woman claims she is being forced to go to court to get an apology after she was questioned by counter-terrorism police for reading a Syrian art book on a holiday flight.
Faizah Shaheen was reported to authorities by Thomson Airways’ cabin crew on a honeymoon flight to Turkey in 2016.
Her lawyers told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme she believes she was singled out because of her race.
Thomson said its crew were “trained to report any concerns” as a precaution.
Shaheen was reading Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline on the outbound flight.
The book is a collection of literature, photos, songs and cartoons from Syrian artists and writers.
She was stopped by police when she returned to the UK two weeks later.
Shaheen and her husband were taken to a room at Doncaster Sheffield airport for questioning under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act.
She said the interrogation lasted around 30 minutes, during which she was asked about the book, her work and the number of languages she spoke.
“I felt upset and distressed, followed by anger. I struggled to accept that I was being singled out for reading a book on art and culture,” she explained.
“One year on, Thomson Airways has failed to provide an explanation or apology despite legal involvement.
“This attitude has left me with no option but to seek a declaration from the court under the Equality Act.”
Shaheen said she was not seeking compensation, but “an apology and explanation from Thomson Airways to ensure that it never happens again”.
Her legal team said it had written to Thomson telling the company it believed she had been a victim of discrimination.
It argued she believes she was singled out because of her race.
Ravi Naik, of ITN solicitors, said that while Thomson had acknowledged its initial communication, it had not responded to its correspondence since January.
Thomson said in a statement to the BBC: “We’re really sorry if Ms Shaheen remains unhappy with how she feels she was treated.
“We wrote to her to explain that our crew undergo general safety and security awareness training on a regular basis.
“As part of this they are encouraged to be vigilant and share any information or questions with the relevant authorities, who would then act as appropriate.”
This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.