British Muslim Woman Detained For Reading Book About Syria On Board Thomson Airways Flight


A British woman was arrested upon her return to the UK after a Thomson Airways Flight Attendant made a complaint against her to police for reading a book about Syria on her outbound flight to Turkey 2 weeks earlier.

Thomson Airways

Upon arrival the woman was taken into custody for questioning under one of the UK’s draconian security acts that allows law enforcement to detain individuals without grounds for a limited time.

Another case that shows how far society has become or better said how much it developed backwards when someone can be detained under suspicion of being a terrorist for reading a book. After being reported by a flight attendant no less.

The Guardian reported about it (see here).

Faizah Shaheen, a psychotherapist in Leeds, was detained by police at Doncaster airport on 25 July, on her return from her honeymoon in Turkey. A Thomson Airways cabin-crew member had reported Shaheen on her outbound flight two weeks earlier, as she was reading the title “Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline”.

Police officers questioned Shaheen for 15 minutes under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, under which the police can detain individuals without grounds for suspicion of involvement in criminal activities, including terrorism.

Shaheen, whose work in the NHS includes efforts to stop radicalisation among young mental health patients, told the Independent she intends to make formal complaints against the police: “I was completely innocent – I was made to feel like a culprit … I couldn’t understand how reading a book could cause people to suspect me like this. …

In a statement, a Thomson Airways spokesperson said: “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. We appreciate that in this instance Ms Shaheen may have felt that overcaution had been exercised. However, like all airlines, our crew are trained to report any concerns they may have as a precaution.”

I call BS on that statement provided by Thomson Airways and wouldn’t be surprised if that flight attendant made up some story while reporting the incident to the police. There is no way the authorities would put someone on a blacklist based on the information ‘The passenger was reading a book’ irrespective of the title.


Flight Attendants and law enforcement authorities out of control as it is so often the case. The fact alone that reading a book can lead to your arrest is simply unbelievable and instead of giving some lip service and nonsense reply Thomson Airways should have apologizes for having a irrational staff working on their flights.

That the UK has laws which allow the detention of an individual without grounds is just a sad example of what their justice system has become. Even though I can see more of such legislation coming all over the world especially in light of the recent terror attacks.