ARMED POLICE stormed an Easyjet flight and removed a passenger from a plane after another passenger had been reading his Whatsapp messages over his shoulder. The traveller had read the word ISI on his phone in a group called ´prayer´ and feared he was a terrorist.
Laolu Opebiyi, 40, a devout Christian from London, was ordered off the flight from Luton to Amsterdam at 6.45am on March 3. The snooping passenger asked him: “What do you mean by ‘prayer?’” and proceeded towards the front of the plane and asked to get off. Another six people decided to follow suit and disembark the aircraft.
Mr Opebiyi was then escorted out of the plane and by two armed police officers.
They repeatedly questioned him about his faith, if he was considering converting to Islam and which church he attended in London.
He told the Guardian newspaper: “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.”
The Christian went on to explain to police that his WhatsApp group was called ‘ISI’ because it is short for ‘iron sharpens iron’ which relates to a Bible passage about prayer which says: ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another’.
He was then released by Police and returned to the Easyjet desk to get another flight to Holland although when there, the seven passengers who had disembarked the flight refused to travel with him.
One said: ‘If he is on the next flight, I am not getting on the flight.’
Eventually boarding a flight to Amsterdam at 10.25am flight – four hours after he was originally due to fly.
EasyJet said they had to investigate the case but also went on to apologise.
A spokesman from Easyjet said: ‘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. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused to the passenger’.