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Ryanair boss accused of Islamophobia: is it ever OK to profile?

Written by Life & Style, Travel

Budget airline Ryanair is yet again embroiled in controversy, this time after its CEO, Michael O’Leary, stated that Muslim men should be ‘profiled’ at airports.

Speaking to The Times, O’Leary expressed the controversial belief that Muslim men pose the most significant terrorist threat out of all airline passengers, and suggested they should face extra security checks at airports. He clarified that his comments did not extend to Muslims travelling in families, and only applied to men travelling alone, because “the chances [that they] are going to blow them all up is zero”. The inflammatory comments have, quite rightly, been met with widespread condemnation. The Muslim Council of Britain described O’Leary’s remarks as “racist and discriminatory”, and Ryanair has since been forced to apologise for the offence caused.

Unfortunately, remarks like O’Leary’s are all too common. Sadly, I think this “us and them” attitude towards Muslims is all too common. A certain type of individual thinks that, because a tiny minority of Muslims have committed acts of terrorism (just as a tiny number of white people have done the same), they can dismiss all Muslims as “a threat”. Just because a racist remark is “hidden” within “concern” and “good intention”, like O’Leary claiming he is concerned for the safety of airplane passengers, doesn’t mean it isn’t racist.

Image Credit: Wikicommons

Moreover, O’Leary needs to consider the logic behind his comments. In the US, statistics suggest the majority of mass-shootings are committed by white people. Yet, no-one is passing a motion suggesting white people should under-go more security checks when buying firearms, because people can understand that these atrocities are only committed and condoned by a tiny percentage of the population. People like O’Leary are unable to apply this same logic to Muslims, and realise that only a tiny, insane percentage of their population is ever likely to try to blow up a plane. I think there’s a clear reason for this: a tendency to label all Muslims as “dangerous”, and completely forget that Islam is inherently a peaceful religion.

Feature Image Credit: pxhere.com

Last modified: 4th March 2020

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