Budget airline boss Michael O’Leary has come under fire from Muslim groups and politicians for suggesting airport security checks should focus on lone Muslim men rather than families with children “because that is where the threat is coming from”.
“Who are the bombers? They are going to be single males travelling on their own,” said the Ryanair CEO in an interview with The Times.
“If you are travelling with a family of kids, on you go; the chances you are going to blow them all up is zero,” he suggested.
“You can’t say stuff, because it’s racism, but it will generally be males of a Muslim persuasion. Thirty years ago it was the Irish. If that is where the threat is coming from, deal with the threat.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 6, 2016
Predictably, the airline chief’s comments were poorly received by Muslim groups and politicians, who accused him of racism and “Islamophobia”.
“He openly advocates discrimination against ‘males of a Muslim persuasion’, which presumably is not based on specific intelligence but solely whether someone ‘looks or acts like a Muslim’,” complained a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, which was linked to the extremist Muslim Brotherhood by a government report in 2015.
This is the very definition of Islamophobia,” the spokesman added.
Muslim MP Khalid Mahmood, who gained a certain notoriety during the expenses scandal when he was revealed to have claimed £1,350 for a stay in a five-star hotel with his then-girlfriend, was also unhappy with O’Leary’s remarks.
“Security at airports is not an easy process but these comments do not contribute to the debate and are not the way to deal with it,” said the Labour politician, who represents the Birmingham Perry Barr constituency.
“He’s effectively saying ‘everyone is game — if they look like a Muslim then they must be a terrorist’. It doesn’t improve community relations; it gives succour to people of a fascist mindset… Should we profile white people to see if they’re fascists?” he demanded.
“[O’Leary is] being very blinkered and is actually encouraging racism.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 18, 2015