He says: ‘I feel vilified because I’m a Muslim and I have a beard’

A charity worker claimed police were a “law unto themselves” after he was stopped for a counter-terror check as he pushed his grandmother’s wheelchair through Birmingham Airport.

Ahmed Ali said he had been stopped by police a total of 50 times across the country.

He said he was questioned for an hour at the airport after returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca, leaving his gran upset and his wife in tears.

And Mr Ali said he feared police used illegal “profiling” to decide who to stop.

He told DerbyshireLive: “It was an absolute nightmare. It’s getting really annoying. It’s just broken. They [police] are a law of their own.

“I’ve been stopped with my kids and my family but this time it was with my grandma and it ruined her pilgrimage.

“It was the first time she has ever been stopped and she was really upset.”

Mr Ali, who works in Derby for the international aid charity Unite4Humanity, was travelling home from Mecca, Saudi Arabia, after a ten-day pilgrimage with his family and his disabled grandmother, who uses a wheelchair.

As the 42-year-old pushed his grandmother through the disabled check-in area of Birmingham Airport on New Year’s Eve, they were pulled away by West Midlands Police for counter-terrorism checks.

Under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, officers can to stop and question any individual who “appears to be someone who is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism”.

He said: “After I made a fuss, they eventually let me go because they had nothing to charge against me. If they did charge me, it would help everyone who had a beard at airports.

“It’s either profiling which is illegal, harassment which is also illegal or discrimination”.

Derbyshire Live previously covered Mr Ali’s plight when he was stopped for the 20th time flying to Morocco from Manchester Airport in 2016.

Greater Manchester Police took Mr Ali and his wife off his Thompson flight and then questioned him for hours about his faith and where he was going.

He missed his flight.

The first time he was stopped was in 2012, also at Birmingham Airport, when he was returning home from Pakistan.

Mr Ali regularly flies around the world for Unite4Humanity and claimed the whole experience was “upsetting” for him and his family.

In a recording sent to Derbyshire Live, the charity worker pleads with the police to arrest him so he could ask a judge why he has been stopped so many times.

He said: “They always ask me the same questions like: ‘What do you think of what’s happening in Syria?’ and ‘What are your thoughts of what’s happening in Yemen?’”.

“They wanted me to go into a room but I just refuse to do it now. I want them to arrest me and ask me why they have stopped me 50 times.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s broken. I am a Muslim but I don’t go to any of the hotspots like Syria. I just feel vilified because I’m a Muslim and I have a beard.

“They don’t seem to know what they are doing or have any record of me being pulled away by police so many times”.

A spokesperson from West Midlands Police said: “A 42-year-old man was stopped on arrival at Birmingham Airport on December 31, 2018.

“He was spoken to by police and released after further checks had been conducted.”