Muslim minister ‘disappointed’ at airport search
Britain’s first Muslim minister said he was “deeply disappointed” after being stopped and searched by US security officials before a flight back to the UK.
Shahid Malik was detained by department for homeland security officials at Dulles airport in Washington DC yesterday morning.
Mr Malik, who is a minister for international development, had been in the US to attend a meeting on terrorism.
Telling reporters of his “deep disappointment” at being searched, Mr Malik said UK politicians should be treated with greater respect when travelling in the US.
The MP for Dewsbury in West Yorkshire was detained for 40 minutes while his hand luggage was searched for explosives.
He was held back alongside two other men, who the MP said were also Muslim.
Yesterday’s incident follows a similar event at JFK airport in New York last year, when Mr Malik was searched after attending a meeting on terrorism organised by the department of homeland security alongside the FBI and Muslim organisations.
Following the first incident, Mr Malik said officials had apologised and offered reassurances it would not happen again.
He said yesterday he was “deeply disappointed” this had not been the case.
Mr Malik said: “The abusive attitude I endured last November I forgot about and I forgave, but I really do believe that British ministers and parliamentarians should be afforded the same respect and dignity at USA airports that we would bestow upon our colleagues in the senate and congress.
“Obviously, there was no malice involved but it has to be said that the USA system does not inspire confidence.”