A British-born Nigerian was removed from an Easyjet flight at Luton airport after a fellow passenger read a message that mentions ‘prayer’ on his mobile phone and alerted cabin crew, who raised alarm with the police.
Laolu Opebiyi was using WhatsApp to arrange a conference call prayer session with......
friends, as the Amsterdam-bound flight was waiting to take off at Luton airport on Thursday February 25 when a passenger next to him questioned him about message that included the word ‘prayer’ asking “What do you mean by prayer?”
The 40-year-old Nigerian-born business analyst from London explained to the passenger that he was preparing to pray with friends. Few minutes later, he was pulled off the flight by two firearms officers.
It is thought the man misread the name of Mr Opebiyi’s prayer group “ISI men” – which stands for “iron sharpens iron” from a Bible quote – as Isis.
Mr Opebiyi said: “That guy doesn’t know me and within two minutes he’s judging me. Even if I was a Muslim, it was pretty unfair the way I was treated.
If we keep on giving into this kind of bigotry and irrational fear, I dare say that the terrorists will have achieved their aim.”
Mr Opebiyi was taken into questioning by police and quizzed about his Christian faith and where he attends church.
He was forced to hand over his phone and password so officers could check his communication. He was eventually freed and allowed to catch another flight about three hours later.
However, the officers cleared Mr Opebiyi for flight but the pilot refused to let him on and he was made to wait a further three hours to board the next flight to Amsterdam. He said that he is afraid that he is on a terrorist watch-list.
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