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Muslim Woman Detained At Airport For Reading Book

Faiza Shaheen was detained during her flight back from her honeymoon because she was reading a book on Syrian Culture

Faizah Shaheen
Faizah Shaheen

Faizah Shaheen, 27, from Leeds, England, who works as an NHS worker was detained by South Yorkshire Police at Doncaster Airport on the 25th July, after a Cabin crew member became suspicious of her reading a book on Syrian culture.

Faizah was returning from her two-week long honeymoon break from Marmaris, Turkey when she was detained by police officers due to a book she was reading.

Faizah was not reading the book during her return journey but she was reading the book two weeks earlier during her flight towards Turkey, a cabin crew member on her Thomson airlines flight noticed her reading the book on Syrian culture and reported her activity as ‘suspicious behavior’ to the police.

Syria Speaks
Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline

Faizah told the Independent, “I was queuing at passport control and saw police staring at me. I just got through passport control and then two police officers approached me and took me aside and asked me to show my passport again." Soon after being detained, she was questioned for 15 minutes under Terrorism Act. To her surprise, police officers informed her that she was being held due to her reading the award-winning book "Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline".

She was released after the questioning without charge but she has stated, ‘I became very angry and upset. I couldn’t understand how reading a book could cause people to suspect me like this. I told the police that I didn’t think it was right or acceptable.’