Scottish Muslims claim increased police harrassment

Kenny Macaskill, the justice secretary, and senior police officers are to hold talks with Muslim leaders this week amid growing resentment that Asian passengers are allegedly being harassed under terrorist stop-and-search powers. Community leaders say the powers are being over-used by police at airports and railway stations, with people routinely detained for up to two hours and interrogated on their religious beliefs, prayer habits, knowledge of the Koran, political affiliations, hobbies, and their views of the Iraq war. In some cases, “suspects” are later visited at home and questioned about internet sites they have viewed, fuelling fears that they are under surveillance. The British transport police (BTP) have also been accused of heavy-handedness at main stations such as Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central. The issue will be raised at a private meeting at the central mosque in Glasgow attended by MacAskill and senior police officers. MacAskill has already attacked the BTP on the issue. Last year, Tom Harris, the UK rail minister, accused him of being “cynical and irresponsible” for claiming the BTP was harassing ethnic minorities.

Muslims will be searched by sniffer dogs despite objections, say police

Questions have been raised over using sniffer dogs to search Muslim passengers at train stations following complaints that it is against their religion. Some Muslims had raised objections over being searched by the explosive-detecting animals, but British Transport Police have said they will continue to use the specially trained animals. The saliva of dogs, and not dogs per se, is considered to be unclean in Islam. The complaints came after a rail security trial at Brighton station, the Government revealed. The Muslims reported that it was not permissible for them to have direct contact with dogs due to their religious beliefs. Asked if the findings would lead to certain measures not being used on certain people, a BTP spokesman said: “The legislation applies to everyone. It’s not a case for exemptions. “Officers will be sensitive where appropriate but obviously there are practical implications.”

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Muslims will be searched by sniffer dogs despite objections, say police

Questions have been raised over using sniffer dogs to search Muslim passengers at train stations following complaints that it is against their religion. Some Muslims had raised objections over being searched by the explosive-detecting animals, but British Transport Police have said they will continue to use the specially trained animals. The saliva of dogs, and not dogs per se, is considered to be unclean in Islam. The complaints came after a rail security trial at Brighton station, the Government revealed. The Muslims reported that it was not permissible for them to have direct contact with dogs due to their religious beliefs. Asked if the findings would lead to certain measures not being used on certain people, a BTP spokesman said: “The legislation applies to everyone. It’s not a case for exemptions. “Officers will be sensitive where appropriate but obviously there are practical implications.”