Indian-origin Muslim siblings made to deboard the plane over IS claims

| Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - 20:58
First Published |
IS, Muslim, British police, MI5 agent, EasyJet, London

During their one-hour interrogation on the tarmac, Sakina said she was asked to explain entry stamps on her passport.

London: Three Indian-origin Muslim siblings were allegedly ordered off the plane and interrogated by British police after fellow passengers accused them of being members of the Islamic State (IS) militant group, the media reported.
Sakina Dharas, 24, her sister Maryam, 19, and their brother Ali, 21, were on board EasyJet flight EZY3249 from London's Stansted Airport to the Italian city of Naples on August 17, reported.
As the plane was about to take off, a crew member ordered the siblings off the aircraft and escorted them down the staircase to the tarmac, where they were met by armed police and an MI5 agent who questioned them for one hour, Sakina was quoted as saying.
Two passengers told authorities that the siblings had been looking at a mobile phone screen that showed either Arabic text or the words "praise be to Allah", Sakina said.
"A passenger on your flight has claimed that you three are members of ISIS," the MI5 agent said to the siblings, according to Sakina.
"The minute that I saw police standing there, I was extremely emotional. We had nothing at all [on our phones]. We don't even speak Arabic, we're [of] Indian [origin]," she said.
During their one-hour interrogation on the tarmac, Sakina said she was asked to explain - page by page - the details of various entry stamps on her passport. She also showed the MI5 agent recent WhatsApp messages. 
The siblings provided answers relating to their personal lives and were questioned on their home addresses, workplaces, social media history and parents' professions.
The siblings, from northwest London were then allowed back on the plane, which had been delayed.
Sakina said she and her siblings were victims of "racial profiling".
"I'm still very annoyed that someone [the accusing passengers] can get away with a blatant lie," she said, adding that she would take legal action "if I knew a way to do so".
The airline has now apologised after the incident at Stansted last week as the three were heading to Naples for a weekend getaway. 
"We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused to the passengers," the company said.
"However, our country is home to one of the smallest per capita base of mental health professionals globally. The IPS is focused on positive mental health and in stigma reduction not only for depression but also across the spectrum for all psychiatric disorders," Rao said.
"The crisis our country is facing requires urgent interventions at various levels and we are very pleased at the work that's been by various organisations in this regard,” added Rao.
Following the agreement, Together Against Depression -- the sensitisation programme for doctors -- will be expanded nationwide. 
The programme focuses on incidence of depression, screening and treatment. Programme participants will also receive material such as videos, articles, quizzes and handouts for easy reference. The course material for the programme has been designed in-house, by The Live Love Laugh Foundation.
The launch of the programme for doctors follows the unveiling earlier this year of You Are Not Alone -- the foundation's flagship programme focused on educating high school students and teachers on stress, anxiety and depression. 

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