SHAFAQNA -Â Muslims are believed to be specifically andÂ disproportionately targeted duringÂ airport security checks in Scotland, according to aÂ Durham University’s research study.
Research carried out in Edinburgh focussed on MuslimÂ immigrants and Scottish-born MuslimsÂ who felt Scotland was a “tolerant, friendly and inclusive place”, but were concerned about being treated as a “suspect community” in airports.
The study, titled “Visible Muslimness in Scotland: Between Discrimination and Integration”, also incorporated a survey of other studies focused on Glasgow and the rest of Scotland.
It suggests that the disproportionate targeting of Asian and Muslim travellers is undermining the integration of Muslim immigrants into Scottish society.
“Contact with police and security officers at airports constitutes the main area of concern for Scottish Muslims,” said Durham University’s Dr Stefano Bonino in the report.
“Most of Edinburgh’s Muslims had either themselves experienced, or had relatives and/or friends who were subjected to perceived disproportionate targeting or harsh treatment, when leaving from or arriving at Scottish airports. For the most part, respondents argued that this was the result of the ethnic and religious profiling that the police and security officers allegedly use to target people of seemingly Muslim appearance,” he added.
Dr Bonino argues that power provided under the Terrorism Act 2000 is used to justify targeting people of Muslim appearence.
“The airport checksÂ have resulted in MuslimÂ men feeling as though the perception of them as inherently suspicious has become normalised,” he said.
Edinburgh Airport officials refute such claims.
“We work hard to make sure that all of its passengers have a good experience when travelling through Edinburgh Airport. Diversity training is a core part of security officer training to ensure all are treated with respect and understanding. Local imams and leaders of the Muslim community have visited the airport to view our security processes and discuss any concerns as part of an ongoing dialogue in improving our service for all,”Â Edinburgh Airport spokesperson said.
Scotland is home to around 100,000 Muslims, which makes up 1.7% of total population.