Muslim woman seeking court action after airline had her detained for reading Syrian book

A Muslim woman who was detained at a British airport for reading a book on Syrian art onboard a plane is taking her holiday company to court, saying she was singled out for her ethnicity.

Faizah Shaheen has demanded an apology after being stopped on a flight for reading a Syrian art book.Faizah Shaheen / Facebook

Faizah Shaheen was on a flight from her honeymoon in Turkey on August 3 2016 when Thomson Airways cabin crew reported her to authorities. She was detained and questioned, alongside her husband for about 30 minutes, under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, according to BBC News.

Shaheen, who is an NHS mental health worker who works in preventing radicalisation, believes she was discriminated against because of her race. She said officials questioned her about her book Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline, her work and how many languages she spoke.

She told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme: '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.'

'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.'

According to the Evening Standard, Thomson Airways responded with the following statement: '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.

'We appreciate that in this instance Ms Shaheen may have felt that over caution had been exercised, however like all airlines, our crew are trained to report any concerns they may have as a precaution.'