By Lizzie Dearden – Two Muslim men have been taken off a plane bound for Manchester after two women accused them of “making gestures”.
They were asked to re-trace their steps through security at Izmir airport in Turkey for extra checks sparked by claims including that they were “going to the toilet to use their phones”.
Their Thomas Cook flight was delayed for 80 minutes before the passengers were given the all-clear for the second time.
Witnesses said two British women told the plane’s cabin crew the men were seen “skipping security scanners” and “making gestures”, delaying the plane’s take-off on Wednesday.
Another woman on board told the Manchester Evening News the scene was an “embarrassment” as tourists waited to leave Muslim-majority Turkey.
“Two innocent Muslim men were marched off plane and searched as two English ladies refused to fly with them on the plane,” she said.
“The result was a delay for everyone and the men flew, while the women were left behind.”
The pair refused to fly with the men on board despite the initial security checks, choosing to return to the terminal instead.
A spokesman for Thomas Cook Airlines confirmed the concerns raised were “unverified” and thanked the men for their cooperation.
“Two customers on this flight were asked to go through security a second time as a precaution, after unverified concerns were raised that the initial airport security check had missed them out,” he said.
“We’d like to thank these two customers for their patience and apologise for any inconvenience.”
It was the latest in a string of incidents seeing Muslim passengers questioned or removed from planes.
In August, three British siblings were marched off an EasyJet flight at Stansted by armed police and MI5 agents after being falsely accused of having “Isis material” on their phones.
The offending messages emerged to be WhatsApp messages about Jeremy Corbyn.
Several Muslim passengers have been kicked off flights in the US, including an Iraqi refugee removed after speaking to his uncle in Arabic on the phone and a couple accused of suspiciously “sweating”.