Page last updated at 12:51 GMT, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 13:51 UK

Protest over Muslim 'harassment'

Immigration officer checking passport
Protesters accuse the authorities of "psychological torture".

A protest has been staged outside Strathclyde Police headquarters over alleged "harassment" of Muslim travellers at Glasgow Airport.

About 60 demonstrators claimed that Pakistani and Afghan passengers had been "interrogated" for up to three hours by officers from Special Branch.

They accused police of operating "discriminatory policies".

Strathclyde Police said it welcomed dialogue over the implementation of terrorism legislation.

President of the Scottish Afghan Society, Mohammad Asif, said Strathclyde Police had a duty to treat Muslim passengers like "human beings".

"Muslim community members have been singled out for questioning for no apparent reason other than being Afghan or Pakistani," he said.

The authorities treat us like terrorists, as well as putting pressure on Afghans to become informers and spies
Mohammad Asif
Scottish Afghan Society
"This treatment is unacceptable in a democracy and we are fed up with the discriminatory policies of Strathclyde Police Special Branch.

"We cannot bear the psychological torture anymore. The authorities treat us like terrorists, as well as putting pressure on Afghans to become informers and spies, but we are not going to be intimidated and pressurised."

Strathclyde Police issued a statement saying that a study was under way into the application of terrorism legislation at ports in Scotland.

The statement said: "This is to ensure that these powers are used effectively and are enforced with due regard to community impact and, at the same time, promote understanding and support.

"This study is being carried out under the direction of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland.

"In that regard we would welcome dialogue from anyone in the community who may have concerns regarding how the legislation is implemented."


SEE ALSO
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20 Jun 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Muslims 'boycott' Glasgow Airport
23 Jul 06 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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