Manchester: Complaints of discriminatory interrogation at airport

A MUSLIM Chaplain from Liverpool claims "discriminatory" interrogation is happening on a regular basis at Manchester Airport.

Adam Kelwick, from Wavertree, says he was stopped and questioned for two hours on arrival at the airport as he returned from a Middle Eastern business trip on Wednesday, the third time this has happened since the introduction of the Terrorism Act in 2006.

He claims officials searched his lap top, phone, asked for his bank account pin number and put a string of questions to him.

The chaplain, who carries out charity work in the city to aid social cohesion, claims other friends and colleagues have complained about similar experiences. He said: "Some people I know would rather tolerate the congestion of the airports in London, rather than put up with the unreasonable questioning and discrimination at Manchester.

"I was ordered to remove all my items from my baggage piece by piece and was then taken into a small room and asked questions like 'what is your mother's date of birth?' and 'what school did you go to?'.

"It has happened a few times before at the airport but never when travelling from Liverpool or London.

"It is ironic, I was travelling in traditional Muslim dress, but an international terrorist isn't going to fly around the world with a beard and a gown on.

"It is discriminatory and unfair. The first time it happens you think 'OK, this is helping to deal with terrorism' so I don't mind, but for it to happen on a regular basis is unnecessary."

During the interview, Mr Kelwick says he was treated with courtesy and professionalism, and he blames the issue on unjust laws, central Government's misunderstanding of local Muslim communities and poor training of airport officials.

Mr Kelwick claims the interview ended when he was told he could leave, without any charge or further questioning.

A convert to Islam, Mr Kelwick is well know in Liverpool for his charitable work involving community cohesion, multi-faith programmes and supporting disadvantaged people to make a positive contribution to society.

He claims that interrogation of this type is part of the reason young Muslims become radicalised.

He added: "I am working hard in Liverpool to involve people more in community life, increase opportunities and break down barriers between people of different backgrounds.

"More government support is needed to combat extremists, rather than having airport officials picking on Muslims just for show".

Greater Manchester Police were unavailable for comment.

Source: Liverpool Daily Post (English)

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