Christian man removed from UK flight over ‘prayer’ text


-Laolu Opebiyi was taken off an international flight while trying to arrange a conference call prayer session with his friends

LONDON – A man was removed from an international flight at London’s Luton Airport due to security concerns, the Bedfordshire police confirmed Friday.

Media officer Victoria Bull told Anadolu Agency that “they were made aware of concerns raised on an Easyjet flight at London’s Luton Airport” last week.

A devout Christian, Laolu Opebiyi was trying to arrange a conference call prayer session in his “ISI Men” WhatsApp group when another passenger saw his messages and began to suspect he was a security threat.

Armed officials came on board the plane and ordered Obediyi to leave after the passenger told the crew of his concerns.

Obediyi was forced to hand over his phone and password as he was questioned. He explained that “ISI men” is an acronym for “iron sharpens iron,” taken from a biblical proverb.

Even after he was cleared, the pilot and seven other passengers refused to travel with him.

Obediyi was kept waiting for the next flight at the airport for at least three hours, according to British media reports.

The Bedfordshire police confirmed that officers told Easyjet they were satisfied there were no concerns about Obediyi travelling.

Obediyi told British daily The Guardian that it was very unfair how he was treated.

“‘Even if I was a Muslim, it was pretty unfair the way I was treated. I don’t think anyone, irrespective of their religion, should be treated in such a way.

“If we keep on giving into this kind of bigotry and irrational fear, I dare say that the terrorists will have achieved their aim,” he said.

An Easyjet spokesman commented, “The safety and security of its passengers and crew is our highest priority, which means that if a security concern is raised we will always investigate it as a precautionary measure.”