Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary is under fire for saying Muslim men should be profiled at airports to prevent terrorism.
He said families with young children should be waved through airport security because there was ‘virtually’ zero chance of them being bombers.
Mr O’Leary, 58, didn’t say how security would tell what a Muslim looks like and was slammed for ‘encouraging racism’ with his ‘blinkered’ view.
In an interview with The Times, he said: ‘Who are the bombers? They are going to be single males travelling on their own.
‘If you are travelling with a family of kids, on you go; the chances you are going to blow them all up is zero.
‘You can’t say stuff, because it’s racism, but it will generally be males of a Muslim persuasion. Thirty years ago it was the Irish.
‘If that is where the threat is coming from, deal with the threat.’
Hitting back, Labour MP Khalid Mahmood said: ‘If he can tell me what colour Muslims are then I’d be very happy to learn from him – you can’t judge a book by its cover.
‘In Germany this week a white person killed eight people. Should we profile white people to see if they’re being fascists?
‘He’s being very blinkered and is actually encouraging racism.’
Islamophobia support group Tell Mama said: ‘Besides being discriminatory and basing judgements on the “looks” of people, which is abhorrent, O’Leary clearly does not know about the history of terrorism, where people have used others to bypass this blunt and divisive technique.’
The group said this could be the chief executive’s ‘Gerald Ratner moment’, referring to the the British businessman who nearly destroyed his multi-million dollar jewellery business by calling one of its decanter sets ‘total crap’.
Mr O’Leary’s remarks come the day after a white female Muslim convert admitted plotting a suicide bomb attack on St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Safiyya Amira Shaikh, 36, was born Michelle Ramsden before converting to Islam in 2007.
She was believed to have become radicalised in 2015 after following extremists online.
Mr O’Learyis no stranger to inflammatory remarks, having once said: ‘The best thing you can do with environmentalists is shoot them.’
He also once said: ‘Screw the travel agents. Take the f***ers out and shoot them. What have they done for passengers over the years?’
The businessman famously proposed coin-operated toilets on flights and dressed up as the Pope to launch Ryanair’s new route from Dublin to Rome.
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