|Today's edition of The Herald in Scotland reports that Special Branch have been accused of abusing their stop and search powers at airports to try and recruit Scottish Muslims into spying for them.|
The Herald says:
Under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, officers can stop and search anyone they want, regardless of whether they appear suspicious. Refusal to answer a question is a criminal offence.
Asif Ahmed, 28, a property developer from Renfrew, was stopped at Edinburgh Airport with his wife and asked to work as an agent of Special Branch.
Ahmed said: “I’m from Scotland, born and raised, and I’m proud of our integrated society.
I was shocked. But now I have heard of other stories. This is happening to the average man on the street.”
Ahmed and his wife were returning from Stanstead. They were collecting their bags when two plain-clothed officers approached them. They were taken to an interrogation room, separated and quizzed for more than an hour.
Ahmed added: “They said they didn’t know we were Muslims and didn’t arrest us because of that. But I have a beard and my wife wears a hijab. How can they not know I am a Muslim?”
The officers identified themselves as Special Branch.
“They told me I would not have access to a lawyer and had to answer their questions. They were trying to intimidate me and said: ‘We have very powerful people in this airport and we can do whatever we want’.”
The officers intrusively questioned them, asking if they knew any terrorists, were members of any Islamic organisation and which mosque they prayed at. After several hours of questioning, the pair were asked to spy for Special Branch.Ahmed added: “More and more people have said this is happening to them.”
ENGAGE readers will know that police harassment of UK Muslims is being reported increasingly frequently and just last month the head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, warned about the 'racist' abuse of stop and search powers by the police.
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