In this article for the Washington Post, scholar Dr. Stefano Bonino (author of “Muslims in Scotland: The Making of Community in a Post-9/11 World”) writes about the hazards of “flying while Muslim,” specifically the profiling and unfair challenges reported by Muslims (or those perceived to be Muslim) during their travel at airports and on planes. The scholar takes a look at Scottish Muslims who, despite having a generally positive view on the local police, say that changes when they travel via air.
As the scholar reports, “During observation that I conducted in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, police officers paid courtesy visits to mosques and reassured Muslims during protests organized by the far-right Scottish Defense League. Other research has shown that Scottish police have not targeted ethnic and religious minorities per se (but young people across the board) during stops and searches on the street, as their English counterparts have done.
It is therefore airports that stand out as negative experiences for Muslims —whether because of predictive profiling based on travel plans and suspicious behavior, racial profiling based on ethnicity and religion, or a mixture of both. The probability of a negative experience is compounded by the global nature of the Islamist terrorist threat, which means that Muslims of any ethnic background can attract the attention of authorities.”