The boys from Malaga


by Sunny
23rd August, 2006 at 1:20 pm    

Sohail Ashraf and Khurram Zeb, both 22, who were pulled off flight 613 to Malaga recently, have given an interview to the Daily Mirror.

Sohail – who was marched off the Monarch flight to Manchester at gunpoint – said: “My first reaction was to laugh when I was told why we had been taken off the plane. Then I realised they were deadly serious.”

Despite their ordeal, the pair do not blame the paranoid passengers. Forgiving Sohail said yesterday: “These are nervous times and I can understand why people are so panicked.

“All I would say is, ‘Don’t be paranoid. Don’t judge every book by its cover’. We might be Asian, but we’re two ordinary lads who wanted a bit of fun.”

I’m glad that they’re behaving with more maturity than the other passengers.


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  1. Leon — on 23rd August, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

    Khurram admitted: “As Muslims we are not supposed to drink alcohol, but we did have a few.”

    Haha! Definetly British then.:D

  2. Jai — on 23rd August, 2006 at 1:52 pm  

    Having read the interview and seen the photo, I think this reflects very badly indeed on the other passengers.

    You can understand why people would be jittery, but it’s ridiculous that a couple of young Asian guys would trigger such a hysterical reaction. Does this mean none of us should go on “guys only” flights anywhere, and should always be accompanied either by women and/or parents/other members of the older generation ?

    Absolutely ridiculous. From some of the previous descriptions I was expecting the 2 guys to either look like Anjem Choudhary or some kind of Mujahedeen stereotype.

    Maybe it’ll die down. There were similar knee-jerk paranoid reactions soon after 7/7, including incidents where Asians were refused to be allowed on the train by other passengers or people got off the train themselves when the Asian got on.

  3. Vikrant — on 23rd August, 2006 at 1:58 pm  

    A plane to India has just been grounded in Amsterdam.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5278092.stm

    Motherfuckers…Motherfuckers… this just makes my blood *boil*.

  4. Vikrant — on 23rd August, 2006 at 2:03 pm  

    But neeways on the brighter side…. everytime i go down to Waterloo with a large backpack, i get a wider berth!

  5. Bert Preast — on 23rd August, 2006 at 2:08 pm  

    “Marched off at gunpoint” is a tad sensationalist – the Spanish police are armed as a matter of course and it’s an everyday thing here.

    “We were victimised simply because we were Asians.” is quite correct of course. But it’s not their fault, and neither is it the fault of the other passengers on the plane.

    I live in Malaga and a friend once visited me on a day trip. He was taken apart by customs who seemed to assume he was ferrying cash to drug smugglers or something.

  6. Tasneem — on 23rd August, 2006 at 2:12 pm  

    This is a mass-hysteria, at its worst possible form. Fear factor is now driving people utterly insane, in hordes. Is this going to stop ever?

  7. raz — on 23rd August, 2006 at 2:21 pm  

    LOL the guys were talking in Urdu and the passengers reported them talking in Arabic!

  8. Jagdeep — on 23rd August, 2006 at 2:27 pm  

    Top lads, and credit to them for their attitude. Hopefully they will give interviews on TV and radio so people can see them and these things can be made aware of. The thing about them having a few pints and tucking into non halal McDonalds had me cracking up. Yeah – some Jihadis they are!

    The other passengers — well, this reflects badly on them, especially when you take into account the descriptions of how they were supposed to be wearing leather jackets and looking shiftily.

  9. Jai — on 23rd August, 2006 at 2:42 pm  

    Jagdeep,

    =>”The thing about them having a few pints and tucking into non halal McDonalds had me cracking up. Yeah – some Jihadis they are!”

    Well….not necessarily. The 9/11 hijackers had visited a strip club etc the night before the attack, remember.

    Another article from BBC News:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/5276504.stm

    One of the passengers claims that she heard the 2 guys say “this was the last 30 minutes of their lives”.

  10. Kismet Hardy — on 23rd August, 2006 at 2:50 pm  

    It’s clear from all the evidence presented that khurram and Sohail, if that is their real names, are undercover spies working for the CIA, hired to infiltrate the inner workings of the syndicate of aeroplane bombings, but because they got rumbled by savvy passengers, backtracked and are now pretending to be normal, upstanding citizens. It makes me sick

  11. Jai — on 23rd August, 2006 at 2:55 pm  

    Judging by the photograph in the main article from The Mirror, those 2 dudes are obviously part of the Lahore film industry and were involved in a typical Karan Johar-type “Desis in Europe” movie.

    They got busted before the air-stewardesses had the chance to do the item-number song they’d prepared.

  12. Leon — on 23rd August, 2006 at 2:56 pm  

    It’s clear from all the evidence presented that khurram and Sohail, if that is their real names, are undercover spies working for the CIA, hired to infiltrate the inner workings of the syndicate of aeroplane bombings, but because they got rumbled by savvy passengers, backtracked and are now pretending to be normal, upstanding citizens. It makes me sick

    Huh?

  13. AsifB — on 23rd August, 2006 at 3:32 pm  

    Having been on a couple of flights from Malaga where people have been taken off (drunks in one case and a middle aged woman shoting in great detail at her silent husband for ruining her life) – the standard reaction was fairly jokey -with a bit of staring at the people in the middle and a lot of looking at watches hoping the flight won’t be delayed.

    It seems clear in this case that quite a few passangers on this flight other than the old lady did behave like a mob – and deserved to be grounded as well.

    Kudos to the lads and the Mirror for their level headedness.

  14. Kulvinder — on 23rd August, 2006 at 3:42 pm  

    and neither is it the fault of the other passengers on the plane.

    I disagree, whilst their actions though irrational are perhaps understandable they are quite obviously blameworthy for what happened. The ‘mutiny’ for lack of a better term was initiated by them.

    One of the passengers claims that she heard the 2 guys say “this was the last 30 minutes of their lives”.

    The passengers apparently reached a level of borderline hysteria, id hardly call their statements objectively reasonable under the circumstance. The train passengers interviewed directly after the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes seemed adamant he was chased into the train and had the look of a ‘cornered rabbit’ (or words to that affect) all of that was later proven to be inaccurate.

  15. Kulvinder — on 23rd August, 2006 at 3:43 pm  

    Leon i think Kismet is just being himself :)

  16. sonia — on 23rd August, 2006 at 3:45 pm  

    Heh heh there you go – ‘swarthy’ ‘a bit of stubble’ –ooh they must be terrorists.

    yep at least these lads are behaving better than some

  17. Sunny — on 23rd August, 2006 at 3:50 pm  

    I bet some Indian director will sign up the two boys to make a film on the whole incident. Probably be Jagmohan Mundhra too. An Indian singer/dancer will no doubt be amongst airline passengers doing a dance to distract the passengers while the boys make a run for it (and subsequently realise they have nowhere to run to, they want to get on the plane dammit!).

  18. Leon — on 23rd August, 2006 at 4:03 pm  

    The train passengers interviewed directly after the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes seemed adamant he was chased into the train and had the look of a ‘cornered rabbit’ (or words to that affect) all of that was later proven to be inaccurate.

    Indeed, I remember one guy saying on camera that he looked Pakistani…

  19. Leon — on 23rd August, 2006 at 4:04 pm  

    Leon i think Kismet is just being himself

    Drunk?

  20. fatwadodger — on 23rd August, 2006 at 4:53 pm  

    What about Azar Iqbal –

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/5259264.stm

    He’s my brothers’ best mates brother-in-law (honest). Was on his way to Disneyland and got sent back from Atlanta. He sells car stereos for a living, is not particularly religious and was with his wife and three kids.

    He is properly pissed off. I don’t think it’s going to push him into the arms of the fundamentalists, but he will be suing for compensation.

    Bloody American authorities.

    Doubly ironic is that
    Azer’s brother-in-law (my bros best mate) is a guy called Amer Rafiq, who won a payout against Manchester police (Michael Mansfield represented him) after a whole load of them beat him up on Eid a few years ago and left him blind in one eye. He is one of the nicest, most relaxed people you will ever meet but quite frankly I wouldn’t blame him if he had turned into a raving fundie (he hasn’t).

    We’ve already got British police stopping and searching (and kicking and beating) and now immigration are getting in on the action.

    Anyone got contact details for Hizb? I’m feeling victimised.

  21. Jagdeep — on 23rd August, 2006 at 5:23 pm  

    Just go to your local student union fatwadodger they’re there is abundance. In the meantime my cousin was stabbed by a Muslim gang in Nottingham – where can I join an anti Muslim outfit because of that?

  22. fatwadodger — on 23rd August, 2006 at 5:41 pm  

    Jagdeep – I think you missed the irony in my ‘anyone got contact details for Hizb comment. And don’t tell me about Muslim gangs and nutters in student unions – religious fanatics don’t just hate people of other faiths, they have a problem with progressives of their own faith – ‘the enemy within’. Doesn’t justify the authorities abusing their powers.

  23. northern_scum — on 23rd August, 2006 at 5:46 pm  

    i come in peace:)
    lets spread the love guys xxx

  24. Jagdeep — on 23rd August, 2006 at 5:51 pm  

    I got your irony fatwadodger I was being ironic myself.

  25. Vikrant — on 23rd August, 2006 at 5:58 pm  

    Anyone got contact details for Hizb? I’m feeling victimised.

    How can really lapse into victim mentality so quickly… I\’ve been knifed by BNP twats at an Ascot cornershop i used to work part-time for… I hear they still get horse-shit in their mailbox regularly (racism Berkshire style)…

    re:#22 fatwadodger: I get it!

  26. Sunny — on 23rd August, 2006 at 6:55 pm  

    Anyone got contact details for Hizb? I’m feeling victimised.

    Heh!

  27. Katy Newton — on 23rd August, 2006 at 8:59 pm  

    I am disappointed. JOnz was waxing lyrical the other night about scary Quranic beards, and yet I see no beards of terror. Perhaps they have discarded their beards along with their evil death ray laser guns.

  28. Jagdeep — on 23rd August, 2006 at 9:57 pm  

    Some airline food can be classified as terrorism.

  29. Billy — on 23rd August, 2006 at 10:01 pm  

    I have to say I’m impressed with how amacable they’re being. I would have been spitting blood had it been me.

  30. Don — on 23rd August, 2006 at 10:32 pm  

    They’re on Newsnight, starting now.

  31. Don — on 23rd August, 2006 at 10:44 pm  

    And a very impressive performance.

  32. Sajn — on 23rd August, 2006 at 10:51 pm  

    “Some airline food can be classified as terrorism.”

    How often do you fly with PIA?

  33. fatwadodger — on 23rd August, 2006 at 10:51 pm  

    My bro wants to go to see my granny in Chicago (on his own) – she’s 92 and we’re not sure how much longer she’s going to be around.

    Much as I love him, he does look a bit like one of the July 7 bombers. Should he:

    a) Wear a suit and take no luggage
    b) Have a hastily arranged marriage so that he can have a woman with him
    c) Look into plastic surgery Michael Jackson style?

    Which reminds me, shortly after 9/11 my granny (then in her late 80′s) was stopped at the airport in Washington DC, she was travelling in a wheelchair with my 13-year-old female cousin. They were held for five hours.

    The airline then gave them a free upgrade but granny wasn’t impressed – she was supposed to go straight to the mosque when she landed and she missed Friday prayers.

  34. g — on 24th August, 2006 at 12:00 am  

    the interview with one of the passengers who got them chucked off was more revealing. him and his tranny wife said it was because they wore jumpers and basically just ‘looked different’. and yet they said it wasn’t a race issue. the scary thing was, tranny woman was said to be in the newspaper a lecturer. higher education clearly isn’t all its cracked up to be. and both racist women had those horrible natural tans so despite the fact that asians terrify them they still want brown skin?

  35. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 12:06 am  

    Kulvinder : #14 – I know the people on the plane started the mutiny. I just said it wasn’t their fault. Because it wasn’t – it was the fault of islamist terror attacks on airliners, or it was the fault of government scaremongering. Depending on your point of view.

    I’m not sympathetic at all to the people on the plane, as the British way to set about such problems is to maintain a stern dignity and be blown to bits with a stiff upper lip. I suspect these passengers may well have been Europhiles.

  36. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 12:08 am  

    “both racist women had those horrible natural tans”

    :D fantastic.

  37. Ravi Naik — on 24th August, 2006 at 9:30 am  

    ::: those horrible natural tans so despite the fact
    ::: that asians terrify them they still want brown
    ::: skin?

    Don’t be naive. Surely the BNP is not against tanned indigenous british people. Nor would the passangers in the flight find black or chinese suspicious. This is not about the colour of your skin, but rather the fact that we asians males match the profile of the terrorists. Superficially, that is.

    Why was there a mutiny in their first flight and not the second? And what if the passengers in the second flight found them suspicious because they “looked different”? What then?

  38. David — on 24th August, 2006 at 9:55 am  

    Just heard the Malaga boys on Radio 5 live. They are stars. No bitterness, just cool, clear logic: “If they didn’t want to fly with us, *they* should have got off the plane”.

  39. Nush — on 24th August, 2006 at 10:11 am  

    Guys, after what I saw on GMTV this morning, an interview with Kate Garraway, they hardly showed remorse which was a bit insensitive when going on such a high profile breakfast show.

    They insinuated that if it was a joke, it was a good one…now that comment to me does not go down well, not in this current climate.

    Anyway if assumptions were made by jittery passengers then that is not right, they have shown compassion by what I have read above but I don’t blame them if they start to show cracks!

  40. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 10:14 am  

    David: From who’s point of view is it logical for everyone else to get off the plane?

  41. David — on 24th August, 2006 at 10:40 am  

    David: From who’s point of view is it logical for everyone else to get off the plane?

    Every passenger on the plane had been thoroughly security-checked. Nobody was in danger. Those who were afraid were being irrational. Why inconvenience someone else for your own irrationality? You don’t want to fly? Get off the plane, fool.

  42. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 11:00 am  

    I doubt the security checks at Malaga were any more stringent than the ones that failed to pick up Richard Reid. There was no security alert in Spain at the time.

    I don’t see their fear as irrational. Would anyone have been surprised to see a bomb blow up on a plane last week?

  43. Jai — on 24th August, 2006 at 11:09 am  

    Katy gets the prize this week for best new phrase: “Beards of Terror”. Fantastic.

    I’m going to use that as often as possible now.

    Bert Preast also gets the prize for funniest post of the year, re: #35 = “Getting blown up while keeping a stiff upper lip”.

    Classic stuff.

  44. Ravi Naik — on 24th August, 2006 at 11:13 am  

    ::: I doubt the security checks at Malaga were any
    ::: more stringent than the ones that failed to pick
    ::: up Richard Reid

    ::: I don’t see their fear as irrational. Would
    ::: anyone have been surprised to see a bomb blow up
    ::: on a plane last week?

    So, what is your point? That Asians should not fly at all? Because if security checks are not enough, and “looking different” gets you the tag of possible terrorist, then there isn’t much you can do, now is there? And once you get that tag, I guess anything you do enforces that idea.

    I am really upset by this story.

  45. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 11:17 am  

    I’m not saying Asians shouldn’t fly, and I’m not saying people who are worried about Asians on planes are being irrational.

    Whether these people were justified in demanding their removal or not depends on how these two lads were acting. Both sides need to think about things a bit more, then maybe sense can still prevail.

  46. Jai — on 24th August, 2006 at 11:17 am  

    Anyway, there’s only thing we can all do now :

    It looks like we’re all flying with Air India in future.

    Get ready to experience the delights of insanely overcrowded planes, people sleeping on the floor, stroppy air-stewardesses, the strange aroma of saag panir and chana masala hanging in the air, “classic” flock wallpaper, piped sitar music before take-off that nobody listens too, and truly horrific toilets that should be declared biochemical/thermonuclear health-hazards.

  47. Leon — on 24th August, 2006 at 11:22 am  

    This is idiocy, if I was on a plane that hadn’t taken off and suspected someone of being a terrorist I would get off! I wouldn’t sit there paranoid making faces at them in and then demand they be removed. It’s idiocy, sheer paranoid idiocy.

  48. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 11:26 am  

    As I said, Englishmen should die with the dignity befitting the English. Even northerners. So stupidity is fine, but paranoia is right out.

  49. Kulvinder — on 24th August, 2006 at 11:32 am  

    David: From who’s point of view is it logical for everyone else to get off the plane?

    The two gentlemen concerned, their opinions on the matter are as valid as those of the passengers wanting them off. Perhaps more so since they weren’t terrorists. The only reason Monarch asked them to leave was because they’d lose less money that way – it wasn’t an inherently ‘right or wrong’ decision just an economic one. If that had been a BA aircraft and just one of those two men had been premier card holders im quietly confident BA would have kicked anyone who didn’t want to fly off without a refund.

    Anyway, nice not to have ruudboys on the tv for once.

  50. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 11:38 am  

    So for Monarch it was the logical decision.

  51. Kulvinder — on 24th August, 2006 at 11:54 am  

    Basically yes, noone else really mattered.

  52. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 11:57 am  

    And serve ‘em all right for flying cattle class.

  53. Chris Stiles — on 24th August, 2006 at 1:09 pm  


    Whether these people were justified in demanding their removal or not depends on how these two lads were acting.

    And so far all the quotes from passengers are second and third hand experiences related by someone they spoke to who spoke to the chaps in question.

    What does ‘behaving suspiciously’ mean? In this context it seems to imply not wearing a ‘Hingey-LUN!’ t-shirt and using ‘wanka’ in every other sentence.

  54. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 1:15 pm  

    Well as an example a muslim passenger would be ill advised to start praying in the boarding lounge. If I understand it correctly, those travelling are granted dispensation to miss a prayer or two so it shouldn’t be a problem. However, expecting muslims to shave off beards to avoid suspicion is taking it too far.

    For me it comes down to passenger profiling. If other passengers see muslims among them and are aware they’ve been looked at especially closely I think that’d go a long way to putting their minds at rest. It might be a bummer for muslims but I don’t think it’ll drive hordes of them into terrorism.

  55. Vikrant — on 24th August, 2006 at 1:22 pm  

    Get ready to experience the delights of insanely overcrowded planes, people sleeping on the floor, stroppy air-stewardesses, the strange aroma of saag panir and chana masala hanging in the air, “classic” flock wallpaper, piped sitar music before take-off that nobody listens too, and truly horrific toilets that should be declared biochemical/thermonuclear health-hazards.

    Hah! I’m surprised AI planes even get off the ground at all with their 80kg matornly air-stewardesses. Heck even BA plaes in front of AI when it comes to incompetence.

  56. Kulvinder — on 24th August, 2006 at 1:27 pm  

    You’re deluding yourself if you believe the ‘manner’ of a passenger from the perspective those also traveling on the plane as opposed to his financial contributions is the determining factor on whether someone is allowed on the aircraft or not.

    What is ill advised is having delusions of grandeur and thinking that you as a traveler have a right to ‘morally sanction’ how someone else chooses to act.

    It hasn’t really been the case on this site but i have detected a vague air of vigilantism when people discuss this. The danger as always is ‘events escalating’. Mob rule gets treated very very harshly in court.

  57. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 1:30 pm  

    Demanding that people are removed from a plane is one thing, attacking them is quite another.

    And erm, what’s democracy if not mob rule?

  58. Vikrant — on 24th August, 2006 at 1:34 pm  

    Anyways Jai, does anybody ever fly AI anymore except Gujjus? London-Ahmedabad-Mumbai is a nightmare.

  59. Sunny — on 24th August, 2006 at 1:35 pm  

    If anyone asks me to get off the plane, I’m gonna say: “Over my dead, exploded body, fool”. I’d love to see the reaction then.

    Bert – you’re being silly. Ramp up airport security, fine. But I don’t want a chav deciding whether I look like a terrorist or not of if they’ve got problems. The airlines should have a strict rule – if you have a problem, get off the plane and fly the next one.

  60. Jagdeep — on 24th August, 2006 at 1:38 pm  

    ——>If anyone asks me to get off the plane, I’m gonna say: “Over my dead, exploded body, fool”. I’d love to see the reaction then.

  61. Jagdeep — on 24th August, 2006 at 1:39 pm  

    Shit, didnt come out properly.

    Sunny said:

    If anyone asks me to get off the plane, I’m gonna say: “Over my dead, exploded body, fool”. I’d love to see the reaction then.

    I say:

    You would get quite a reaction, you would probably be coshed over the head, rugby tackled or or handcuffed for making a belligerent statement like that especially referencing exploding bodies. There’s wrong and there’s right and even if you are wrongly accused, there is a right way of going about dealing with it.

    Flying is stressfull enough as it is!

  62. Chris Stiles — on 24th August, 2006 at 1:43 pm  


    Well as an example a muslim passenger would be ill advised to start praying in the boarding lounge. If I understand it correctly, those travelling are granted dispensation to miss a prayer or two so it shouldn’t be a problem. However, expecting muslims to shave off beards to avoid suspicion is taking it too far.

    Okay, so what relevance does this paragraph have to the thread? They weren’t praying, and only one of them had a beard.


    If other passengers see muslims among them and are aware they’ve been looked at especially closely I think

    So, expecting them to shave their beards off is not on, but hassling random swarthy types for ‘looking’ muslim is better.

    The problem with an ‘anti-terrorism strategy’ of this sort is that the costs are bourne by a different branch of society to that calling for the policy. In economic terms the costs have been externalised, and that does not make for sensible decision making, because given sufficient fear mongering there will always be support for ever more extreme measures as long as they only affect someone else.

  63. Sunny — on 24th August, 2006 at 1:50 pm  

    Jagdeep – behaving like meek mummys boys is not an option. My brother has a long beard and a turban. He is also in the army. And what about other Sikhs who carry big kirpans? Although these boys have reacted very admirably in the face of their treatment, there is no way I’d support mob rule on planes.

  64. Kulvinder — on 24th August, 2006 at 1:54 pm  

    Demanding that people are removed from a plane is one thing, attacking them is quite another.

    Thinking you have the right to ‘demand’ or veto who is and isn’t on a flight leads down the road to attacking fellow passengers. I did specifically mention i was commenting on the dangers of escalation.

    And erm, what’s democracy if not mob rule?

    At the begining of the 20th century it meant distilling mob rule through social and political philosophy and taking a more considered view of thinks. Now its just about who’ll shoot the barbarians at the gate.

  65. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 1:54 pm  

    Sunny – my point is that if the airport security was ramped up, the chavs would not have got paranoid and the incident wouldn’t have happened.

    Chris Stiles – I see the paragraph as relevant to the thread. We’re talking about the problem in general here, if it was a one off incident we wouldn’t bother. It’s almost certain to happen again.

    And yes, people will get hassled for looking muslim. That’s what happens in security situations. The Russians say it best, I think – “tough shitski”. It’s not the end of the world.

    I’m afraid I can’t make head or tail of your last paragraph. :D

  66. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 1:58 pm  

    Kulvinder – the threat is real enough and if people don’t think everything is being done for their safety, then it’s hard to blame them for making their own demands. I don’t think it’s leading down a road to mobs attacking people – remember, the heightened security is still at the airports, not at the mosques.

  67. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:04 pm  

    Sunny – making any sort of jokes about terrorism in an airliner or airport will get you into big trouble, whoever you are and whatever you look like. Rightly so.

    Mind, being asked to get off the plane is a tad unfair, I’ll allow. What should have happened here is the captain should have talked to the two of them, told them of the other passenger’s concerns and asked them to say something to allay the fears. As it seems both were partial to a drinky, if one had asked for a pint of lager then stood, drained it in one gulp and put the empty glass upside down on his head with a chorus of Rule Brittania he’d have been rewarded with rousing cheers and the problem would have been over before it started.

    Why can’t people just use a little common sense, eh?

  68. Jagdeep — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:12 pm  

    Jagdeep – behaving like meek mummys boys is not an option. My brother has a long beard and a turban. He is also in the army. And what about other Sikhs who carry big kirpans? Although these boys have reacted very admirably in the face of their treatment, there is no way I’d support mob rule on planes

    Not an option? What are you saying? You’re going to kick their heads in and fight and get belliegerant? Including saying stuff about how not to touch your exploding body?? That’s going to show that you’re not a terrorist? Try it and see what happens…..

    All my family wear turbans and I wear a patka sometimes depending on how religious i feel in a particular season and I have amritdhari relatives and they take their kirpans off or if not, Sikhs are not belligerent about their kirpans. And none of us have ever had a problem on planes, not a single thing, including an uncle who travelled to Dallas two months ago to attend a wedding and flew all over America and travveled across Texas!!

  69. Chris Stiles — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:14 pm  


    I’m afraid I can’t make head or tail of your last paragraph.

    Right. If anti-terrorist policy is to be made by the most scared – who will never be affected by it – how do you ensure that it is either proportionate or reasonable?

    There will always be a tendancy to shrug and say something along the lines of “There is no smoke without fire” as long as security is only ever targetted at other people.

    Read the comment pages on other news sites. There are plenty of people attempting to justify this particular incident and it’s handling based on:

    - Alleged wearing of heavy clothing – which appears to be a chinese whisper.
    - That they spoke Arabic and not English – a third hand report of someone whose wife spoke to someone who spoke to the two chaps – which is impossible, if you think about it.
    - Them being muslims and drinking alcohol and therefore deserved all they got!? (made by a commentator with an european sounding name on the Manchester Evening News site).


    And yes, people will get hassled for looking muslim. That’s what happens in security situations. The Russians say it best, I think – “tough shitski”. It’s not the end of the world.

    No, it certainly isn’t. Though it does sit uneasily alongside the wailing and gnashing of teeth over ‘immigrants who fail to integrate’ and ‘tacking ethnic tension’.

  70. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:29 pm  

    Chris – I’m not with you there. The effects of anti-terror policies impact on everyone even with profiling. You still have to turn up earlier, you still might get delayed, and at the end of the day you still might get blown up anyway. I never said that anti-terror policies should be made by the most scared, and I doubt you think they should be made by muslims. Those policies come from the government and civil service, as they should do.

    Being white doesn’t make one immune from the security checks, you just get it for different reasons. As a skinhead I was checked for hooliganism, as a long hair I was checked for drugs, and now if I wear a suit I’m checked as someone looking uncomfortable wearing a suit.

    Regarding this particular case, since the latest alert many thousands of planes full of Britons have embarked and landed all over the world. Most of those planes will have carried muslims, but this is thus far the only incident. So I suspect there might be some substance in your Chinese whispers, even that these boys clocked the anxiety they were causing and decided on a bit of a wind up.

    And I hope you’ll never see me use a phrase like “tackling ethnic tension”, unless perhaps I’m starring in a porno.

  71. Kulvinder — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:33 pm  

    Kulvinder – the threat is real enough and if people don’t think everything is being done for their safety, then it’s hard to blame them for making their own demands. I don’t think it’s leading down a road to mobs attacking people – remember, the heightened security is still at the airports, not at the mosques.

    They’re welcome to make a suggestion about what security precautions they wish to be in place but have no right to ‘demand’ someone off the plane. Im unsure why exactly you discount the physical threat when you base your opinion on something that doesn’t exist. If a passenger (falsely) believes he can tell an airline whom he doesn’t want on an aircraft it isn’t a massive leap to suggest some sort of enforcement of their ‘right’ might be practised. Why else exercise your ‘demand’?

  72. Sunny — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:35 pm  

    Jagdeep – My point about “my dead, exploded body” was an attempt at sarcasm, before you keep flogging it.

    YEs there should be common sense. But this incident was not indicative of common sense. In fact one could also ask whether it was a bunch of racists using terrorism as a cover. They are still trying to behave like victims.

    It’s a legitimate question to ask – why should anyone have to down a pint of bear or whatever to prove they are not a threat to other passengers. I find that offensive. If they don’t have any faith in the security system they shouldn’t be on the plane anyway.

    I’d understand people changing tube carriages on the London Underground but this is ludicrous. I’ll be damned if I’m going to behave like a dancing monkey for a bunch of chavs.

  73. Chris Stiles — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:37 pm  


    I never said that anti-terror policies should be made by the most scared

    .. though ..


    Demanding that people are removed from a plane is one thing

    Yes.


    So I suspect there might be some substance in your Chinese whispers, even that these boys clocked the anxiety they were causing and decided on a bit of a wind up.

    “there’s no smoke without fire”

    Thank you.

  74. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:38 pm  

    Chris – I’m not making massive assumption here. How come this has only happened on this flight?

  75. Jai — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:41 pm  

    From the various reports I’ve seen and read, the alleged “suspicious” behaviour was as follows:

    1. Changing queues during the check-in. (According to the Newsnight interview, the 2 guys had just realised they were in the wrong queue. Not exactly uncommon).

    2. Speaking “Arabic” (wildly off the mark, as we all know now).

    3. Repeatedly checking their watches and looking under their seats before take-off. (The 2 guys deny the latter. The former, again, is not unusual. Passengers waiting for departure impatiently check their watches all the time, whether it’s on a plane, train, or anywhere else).

    4. “Looking Muslim”. Having seen the guys’ photographs (and seen them being interviewed on TV), there is no way in hell you could physically identify their religious affiliation. It would have been even more ironic (and ridiculous) if they’d actually turned out to be Gujarati students called Patel and studying pharmacy or accountancy or something, or 2 slightly-drunk Jatt Sikh guys (the latter in particular would react quite badly to being accused of being Muslims, let alone Muslim terrorists, especially if they’d had a galaassy or three, as Asian commenters on PP would confirm).

    I agree that the primary blame lies with the homegrown jihadis whose actions are having a “ripple-out” effect where it’s all creating a lot of problems for the rest of us. However, what this is also doing is giving some paranoid and possibly neurotic English people an excuse to act on their prejudices.

    An equivalent analogy would be the Indian-majority passengers on an Air India flight ganging up on the handful of English passengers by accusing them of being alcoholic soccer hooligans (who would be suspected of wanting to run riot within the plane) and/or Goa-fied drug-addicted hippy types. “Travelling while White”, anybody ?

  76. Jagdeep — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:42 pm  

    Yeah OK Sunny! Personally I would politely speak to them in my poshest English accent and ask them what I could do to reassure them! Water off a ducks back and all that…..

  77. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:43 pm  

    Sunny – You’re getting carried away there. “A bunch of racists using terrorism as a cover” – a cover for what? To get 2 brown blokes lobbed off their flight? Codswallop.

    And I’ve not seen them behaving like victims – it’s not them asking for an apology.

  78. Jai — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:46 pm  

    I’ll tell you the one phrase spoken by one of the suspicious passengers which really hit a nerve with me:

    “They looked like they didn’t belong there”.

    =>”“there’s no smoke without fire””

    That depends on the specific situation and in many aspects it’s nonsense. This is something else many Asians here on PP could confirm, considering the epidemic of gossipy aunties prevalent in Asian communities worldwide.

  79. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:49 pm  

    Jai – a fine post. Point four is the biggest concern for me. I’d not have been the least surprised if these two had turned out not to be muslim at all. Muslims should have no complaints about extra security measures as it was undeniably muslims that caused the need for them. Sikhs, hindus and whoever else with a sharp tan and a silly beard have done absolutely nothing to bring suspicion on themselves and I fully understand their concerns that they too will be targetted. Because almost certainly they will be.

  80. Jai — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:49 pm  

    Vikrant,

    =>”does anybody ever fly AI anymore except Gujjus? London-Ahmedabad-Mumbai is a nightmare.”

    I don’t know about numbers but, considering the events of the past few weeks, it’s looking increasingly like a better option these days, at least for flights to/from India.

  81. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:51 pm  

    I see the Schipol flight that was turned back the other day was apparently not related to terrorism. Why aren’t we being told what it was related to then, and how the suspicions of terrorism came about? I think it’s rather important stuff for the public to know about.

  82. Chris Stiles — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:57 pm  


    Why aren’t we being told what it was related to then, and how the suspicions of terrorism came about? I think it’s rather important stuff for the public to know about.

    It’s no longer about terrorism, nothing to see here. Move along now.

  83. Sunny — on 24th August, 2006 at 2:59 pm  

    Bert – this wasn’t the only flight. Of late we’ve seen Muslim airpilots, familes etc and all other sorts of people being harassed.

    This is not me complaining as a non-Muslim (because it’s not an entirely accurate description). This is me complaining about the policy in general. Any Muslim is right to feel annoyed at being held responsible for what some other twat did. HEll, if they stopped me because those Sikhs blew up the AI flight in 1984, I’d be pretty annoyed too.

  84. Sunny — on 24th August, 2006 at 3:00 pm  

    I agree that the primary blame lies with the homegrown jihadis whose actions are having a “ripple-out” effect where it’s all creating a lot of problems for the rest of us. However, what this is also doing is giving some paranoid and possibly neurotic English people an excuse to act on their prejudices.

    Jai got it right in one.

  85. Jai — on 24th August, 2006 at 3:01 pm  

    Bert Preast,

    =>”I fully understand their concerns that they too will be targetted. Because almost certainly they will be.”

    We already are. The rest of us are having to pay the price for the actions of the jihadis and extremists, despite the fact that most of us don’t even have ancestral roots in the same country as them, let alone the same religious affiliation.

    It’s like Italians having to pay the price for terrorism by Basque/ETA separatists. Or English Church of England Christians being subjected to suspicion and prejudice in the rest of the world due to the actions of the IRA in past years.

    =>”Why aren’t we being told what it was related to then, and how the suspicions of terrorism came about?”

    Apparently the people concerned started moving around the plane to try to change seats, and some of them attempted to make phone calls from their mobiles shortly before take-off.

  86. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 3:06 pm  

    Sunny – I believe this was the only flight where the muslims were targetted by passengers rather than the security services?

  87. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 3:11 pm  

    Jai – I know, and I feel for you. But it doesn’t mean that anyone looking at you with suspicion on a plane is automatically a neurotic nor a racist. You have to expect it. I’m struggling to think of what you could do about it. The best I can come up with is a copy of The Sun newspaper. But I assume you still have your pride.

    For flight 42, I read passengers reported that the air marshalls moved in while in flight. If any suspicion was due to trying to make calls on mobiles before take off, I’m sure there never would have been a take off. So what happened?

  88. Jai — on 24th August, 2006 at 3:27 pm  

    Bert Preast,

    =>”You have to expect it.”

    It’s expected and understandable, but still pretty nasty for everyone who’s on the receiving end. The primary blame of course, as I said before, lies with the jihadis and extremists, but the rest of the non-Asian population in the UK would do well to bear in mind that not all Asians are Muslim (the majority aren’t, actually, and the number of non-Muslims rises sharply if one considers the Indian subcontinent as a whole — 87% of Indians aren’t Muslim), and that indeed “Muslim” does not automatically equal “terrorist”.

    Recent worrying surveys about British Muslim opinions of course don’t help matters, and neither does the incompetence of their religious and community leaders, but that’s a different issue and something we’ve all discussed here previously on other threads.

    =>”I’m struggling to think of what you could do about it.”

    Very little. An intelligent person with some common sense would realise I’m not a jihadi type as soon as I open my mouth — although that would not make any difference to a really prejudiced, suspicious, and/or ignorant individual.

    It’s not my job to educate everyone that I’m neither a Muslim or a terrorist. It would, however, significantly help matters if the British media did not keep using the words “Asian” and “Muslim” interchangeably, especially in the context of discussions/reports about Islamic extremism and jihadi activities.

    All that does is form conscious and subconscious connections in the minds of suitably susceptible viewers between the words “Asian”, “Muslim”, and “terrorist”.

    An analogy would be “American, Caucasian, Ku Klux Klan”, or “European, White, Nazi”.

    Imagine if all Americans were subjected to the former or all Europeans (including English people) were subjected to the latter. Not nice.

  89. Kismet Hardy — on 24th August, 2006 at 3:34 pm  

    So these two young men appeared in the Mirror yesterday. Can’t you all see this was their plan all along? Clearly, they want to models. One of them is too handsome, don’t think I haven’t noticed. The lengths some men ill go to for fame. First Chris Evans, now this. It makes me sick

  90. Jai — on 24th August, 2006 at 3:38 pm  

    Detailed new article from MSNBC about the Amsterdam flight incident as follows: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14494149/

    (Thanks to Sepia Mutiny for the link).

  91. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 3:40 pm  

    Jai – Referring to muslims as Asians is one of the particular bees in my bonnet too. Asians are not trying to bring down airliners.

    It’s important as you say. I’m a bog English white van man, and while I’ve put a little study into the subject, most of my peers have not. They have no way of knowing the difference between a muslim or an Asian, and the danger is they don’t really care much. In saying Asians instead of muslims they’re trying not to offend or stereotype muslims, but the damn fools will just manage to offend and stereotype all Asians instead.

  92. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 3:43 pm  

    Jai – That’s the report I’d seen. So was it an attempted but non terrorist hijacking? Were they ferrying drugs? Why aren’t they telling us?

  93. Vikrant — on 24th August, 2006 at 3:47 pm  

    Detailed new article from MSNBC about the Amsterdam flight incident as follows: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14494149/

    Well i’ve been watchin NDTV, it seems all the men are Muslim businessmen living in Jogeshwari! (A D-Company hinterland). The families are adamant that they are “importers/exporters”….. Sound like hawala men to me.

  94. Vikrant — on 24th August, 2006 at 3:49 pm  

    Were they ferrying drugs?

    Given their Jogeshwari credentials and line of business they sound like money launderers to me. (Importer is a well known euphemism for mob money launderer in Bombay)..

  95. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 3:54 pm  

    Aha! Hawalas sounds a good explanation, yes. But why will nobody confirm it?

  96. faizal — on 24th August, 2006 at 3:56 pm  

    I saw the guys this morning on BBC. What were these guys under?!?! They looked like a couple of stoned, pranked up kids!

  97. Chairwoman — on 24th August, 2006 at 4:32 pm  

    I saw part of their interview on GMTV which was earlier than the BBC one. I got the impression that until they were bumped off the plane, they thought it was all a bit of a laugh. They were considerably more circumspect on BBC.

  98. g — on 24th August, 2006 at 4:43 pm  

    why were they circumspect? if you’re referring to the interview on newsnight then they explained their behaviour. they looked under their seats for a food menu. i have been on planes many times and looked under the seat to check if the trolls behind me aren’t sticking their disgusting uncovered feet in my personal space. this doesn’t make me a terrorist. but i suppose because i have brown skin i should watch my behaviour so as to not offend the overlords of the skies and hope i don’t do anything that makes a bunch of racist pikeys assume i’m a terrorist.

  99. Lopakhin — on 24th August, 2006 at 5:17 pm  

    g -
    Interesting article here about them, for what it’s worth:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/5276504.stm

    A man on board a flight to Manchester from Malaga has defended passengers’ actions after their suspicions led to two men being removed from the plane.

    David Wearden, 42, from Chester, said it was reports that the pair had been overheard claiming they had 30 minutes left to live which led to concerns.

  100. Chairwoman — on 24th August, 2006 at 5:21 pm  

    g – they were less frivolous. It’s difficult to say. Bascially they made a better fist of the second interview. Don’t be so precious, I wasn’t accusing them of being terrorists. I still have no idea why anyone would look at them and see them for anything other than what they are, a couple of lads out for a good time.

    By the way, they didn’t mention looking for menus, they did however say that one of them lay on the floor to have a sleep. I assumed that this was in the terminal.

    It is my personal opinion that we should all, regardless of race, colour or creed, conduct ourselves in a manner that isn’t offensive to our neighbours. And that doesn’t mean grovelling to a bunch of racist pikeys.

  101. Sunny — on 24th August, 2006 at 6:09 pm  

    doesn’t mean grovelling to a bunch of racist pikeys.

    Woohoo! Chairwoman’s language has finally come down to our level.

  102. Bert Preast — on 24th August, 2006 at 6:19 pm  

    They said initially that they’d had a few beers and a McDonalds. Is it possible they weren’t usually big drinkers, and got completely wankered? Lying down for a kip in the terminal would suggest so.

  103. Chairwoman — on 25th August, 2006 at 10:18 am  

    Sunny – sorry, ‘grovelling to a bunch of racist pikeys’ should have been in quotes. I consider the term ‘pikey’ to be as perjorative as ‘paki’ or ‘nigger’ and wouldn’t consider using any of them myself.

  104. Jagdeep — on 25th August, 2006 at 2:12 pm  

    Looks like it may all have been a deliberate stunt by the lads:

    Although Muslim groups initially condemned Monarch’s actions, details of the pair’s itinerary obtained by The Independent appear to endorse the airline’s decision to treat them with suspicion.

    Industry sources revealed they booked their flights after the recent security scare began on 10 August, paying £166 each for the day-trip to Malaga. Although they have claimed that the purpose of the visit was to carry out research for a holiday in September, the pair decided to take an evening flight to the resort. It touched down at 7.25pm, leaving them just a few hours in Malaga before they had to check in for the 3am return journey.

    Read the whole article — looks like they were lying about being students at UMIST too.

    http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article1221658.ece

  105. mirax — on 25th August, 2006 at 2:41 pm  

    It’s not that clear Jagdeep; it might be prudent to give them the benefit of doubt until then. However if this turns out to be some juvenile prank, they should be punished in some way for the trouble they have caused. I didn’t think I’d say this but I’d really prefer this to be a case of prejudice than a couple of irresponsible idiots larking about- imagine the backlash!

  106. Jagdeep — on 25th August, 2006 at 2:44 pm  

    I agree mirax it is not definite. But it looks very suspicious especially about them saying they were busy sitting exams at university in Manchester when UMIST says nobody is sitting exams today. personally If it was a prank I would be very annoyed with them, even if it was just a lark by a pair of spliff heads or whatever.

  107. Sunny — on 25th August, 2006 at 3:20 pm  

    Hi Jagdeep – I read that article too. But it’s more a bunch of journalists being suspicious than any proof it was a stunt. And it hasn’t been proven they weren’t at UMIST. There may be a whole bunch of reasons why they went that late. This article isn’t proof enough to be honest.

  108. Bert Preast — on 25th August, 2006 at 3:41 pm  

    I find it easier to believe these two did something they shouldn’t than that the captain, crew and 180 passengers were paranoid racists.

    Seems Kismet at #89 was closest to the mark. Made fools of all of us. Well played, sir.

  109. peter — on 25th August, 2006 at 5:13 pm  

    So, let’s take stock. The Malaga 2 were on some bizarre mission, possibly a stunt, possibly a money or fame-making scheme, possibly even some kind of proactive attempt to make news that the British white working class are racist.

    So, this fantastic ‘progressive’ website – before all these new claims are in – derides all the passengers as ‘chavs’ and ‘pikeys’ – both words used to disparage the white working class and of course, travellers.

    You guys haven’t exposed your racialised snobbery so much since the Lozells riot.

  110. Bert Preast — on 25th August, 2006 at 5:21 pm  

    Well I’m a working class white and the only time I’ve felt offended here was when they started abusing my white van. I love my van.

    Pikey and chav don’t bother me in the slightest, partly because I’m ugly with bad teeth and partly because I am secretly absolutely positive that working class whites are genuinely the salt of the earth. *smug*

    If everyone felt the same way we could finally start taking the piss out of each other properly and get on in life.

  111. Sunny — on 25th August, 2006 at 5:23 pm  

    I find it easier to believe these two did something they shouldn’t than that the captain, crew and 180 passengers were paranoid racists.

    Bert – That’s because it tallies more with what you’d like to believe. I think that is also what prompted the cynicism in the first place.

    Where is the evidence this was a stunt apart from a bit of conjecture?

    both words used to disparage the white working class and of course, travellers.

    Peter – we’re being racially snobbish for being angry at two Asian guys being chucked off a plane? Funny that.

  112. Bert Preast — on 25th August, 2006 at 5:28 pm  

    Sunny – I know my fellow men and I find it hard to believe that nearly 180 of them would agree on this without something having prompted their concern. The two lads admitted they had been on the piss, and my idea was that they got hammered and on seeing people’s suspicions unwisely went on a wind up.

    But as it doesn’t seem it was unwise at all – they got an extra few hours in a Malaga hotel and have earned a few grand each for a day’s work on returning. So it seems Kismet Hardy at #89 may well have hit it on the head.

  113. Don — on 25th August, 2006 at 5:36 pm  

    Peter,

    There was an element of knee-jerk ‘the lads were hard done by’, but it was scarcely more noticeable here than on, say, the Mail’s comment section. But fair point.

    I doubt we’ll ever know, the guys have no reason to ‘fess up if they were dicking around and by now chinese whispers and the capacity of the human mind to remember clearly what you thought happened as established fact will always leave the testimony of the other passengers open to doubt.

    Regarding the itinerary, presumably they wanted to check out the night-life so I wouldn’t call it damning, but it raises questions (not least about alcohol intake).

    One possibility is that they sensed suspicion as they boarded the plane and stupidly decided to play it up; a hostile glare here, some theatrically conspiratorial muttering there. I doubt we’ll ever know.

    By the way, I do object to pikey and chav, but then I’m a middle class liberal – the fair-trade organic sea-salt of the earth.

  114. Chairwoman — on 25th August, 2006 at 5:42 pm  

    Sunny – on GMTV they virtually admitted that it was a stunt. One of them also said the ‘c’ word, and it had 11 letters.

    None of this stops me being appalled that 180 people were of sufficiently limited intelligence to assume that they were bombers.

    I will refer you to what I said earlier, ‘pikey’, ‘paki’, ‘nigger’, all unacceptable. I haven’t included ‘chav’ as ‘chavs’ seem to be glad to be chav.

  115. Don — on 25th August, 2006 at 5:53 pm  

    Bert, cross posted. I think you may be right.

    On the pikey remark by g; by what stretch of the imagination do a college lecturer and a bunch of middle class families count as pikeys?

    Chav, by the way, is pronounced to rhyme with ‘carve’, not ‘have’. And is as offensive as ‘pram-face’.

  116. Bert Preast — on 25th August, 2006 at 5:57 pm  

    Chairwoman wrote: “None of this stops me being appalled that 180 people were of sufficiently limited intelligence to assume that they were bombers”

    Mancs holidaying in Malaga may not be the sharpest pigeons in the loft, but that’s a tad unfair.

    Bear in mind this wasn’t Heathrow – in Malaga there was no security alert and no extra precautions. Yet the BBC and Sky telly is common here and these people had been watching with no doubt some interest the security in the UK. So it seems had their children. What do you say to them?

  117. eeore — on 25th August, 2006 at 10:13 pm  

    It seems that the whole thing may have been a hoax….

    http://www.blogcharm.com/eeore/44523/Daily+Mirror+Hoax+Sparks+Racist+Alarm.html

  118. Bert Preast — on 25th August, 2006 at 10:20 pm  

    Hmm.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/5287768.stm

    Manchester becoming a common theme here. I may have to rescind my earlier comments.

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