British MP stopped at airports ‘because his name was Mohammed’

British MP stopped at airports ‘because his name was Mohammed’
British MP stopped at airports ‘because his name was Mohammed’

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: A British MP was stopped from getting on an Air Canada flight “because his name was Mohammed,” The Guardian reported.

Mohammed Yasin, MP for Bedford, was held back for questioning “for a considerable period” before traveling to Canada with colleagues from the House of Commons leveling up, housing and communities committee, and again before returning to the UK.

The incidents were raised in Parliament by the chair of the committee, Clive Betts, who said it was “racist and Islamophobic” that Yasin had been singled out.

Betts added that Yasin had been asked where he was born and whether he was carrying a knife or other offensive weapon by Air Canada staff.
Betts said he would be writing to the Canadian high commissioner in the UK to protest Yasin’s treatment. 

“When the committee checked in for their flights at Heathrow, all members got through with the exception of the member for Bedford, who was delayed for questioning for a considerable period,” Betts told the Commons. “He was told it was because his name was Mohammad.”

Betts added: “The questioning was undertaken by officials from Air Canada and we believe the Canadian government, and despite him already having been given a visa to enter Canada.
“After proving he was an MP with the help of my committee clerk, he was eventually allowed through.

“At Montreal airport, the same issues were raised by Canadian immigration. On return at Toronto airport on the way back, he was again challenged and got on his flight with the assistance of my consul general, who was very helpful.”

Betts said Yasin “received apologies from the parliamentary secretary to the Canadian minister for immigration and Air Canada,” but added: “I believe it is important to put these concerns on the parliamentary record. It was completely unacceptable for a member of this house to be treated in this way.

“But because he was an MP, he was allowed on his flight. If, however, he had been one of our constituents who had been so challenged, he might have been refused.”

Deputy Speaker Roger Gale said: “I am sure that the whole house will share the dismay at the treatment of the member for Bedford.

“It is wholly unacceptable under any circumstances, but it is particularly concerning, occurring as it did, in the course of official travel on parliamentary business.”

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