Christian "ISIS" prayer gets man removed from plane
A British man was removed from an easyJet flight from London to Amsterdam after a fellow passenger accused him of being a terrorist. The other passenger looked at his phone over his shoulder and saw a WhatsApp group called "ISI men". He misread it as "ISIS men", he told British newspaper The Daily Mail.
The other passenger walked to the cockpit and demanded to get off. He was followed by six others. Eventually two police officers arrived and asked the man, 40-year-old Laolu Opebiyi from London, to also leave the plane.
Opebiyi was repeatedly questioned about his faith, which church he attended and whether he was converting to Islam. He explained to the police that the WhatsApp group in question was called "ISI" to refer to a Christian bible passage about prayer. It's short for "iron sharpens iron" from a passage that reads: "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."
He was eventually released, but faced further shaming when he arrived at the easyJet counter to rebook his flight. The seven other passengers who demanded to get off the flight, refused to travel with him. One was heard saying "If he is on the next flight, I am not getting on the flight", according to the newspaper. Opebiyi eventually traveled to Amsterdam on a 10:25 a.m. flight, four hours after his original flight.
"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", he told the Guardian. "If we keep on giving into this kind of bigotry and irrational fear, I dare say that the terrorists will have achieved their aim."
EasyJet apologized for the incident, but said they had to investigate. "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 apologize for any inconvenience caused to the passenger."