Reposted from MSN
Two Brummie Muslim men visiting the British Museum have spoken out about their appalling experience after a member of security staff singled them out to ask them 'where the ticker was' to set off a bomb and the 'stick of dynamite'. The questions shocked the pair who levelled an accusation of Islamophobia at the guard.
Altaf Kazi, Birmingham based head of partnerships and community engagement the Blood Transfusion Service, and colleague Umar Malik, the organisation's partnerships manager, were on a work 'awayday' to London when the shocking encounter happened. (Thursday 30 June) Their bags were being checked when the security guard asked each of them in turn about 'bombs'.
Speaking to BirminghamLive, Mr Kazi, 37, said: "There were four colleagues waiting in a line. Two of my colleagues went before me and checked their bags in, with no questions asked.
"When it was my time to put my bag on the table, the security man opened my bag and said: ‘where’s the ticker?’ He then said: ‘You shouldn’t be killing all of humanity but saving all of humanity’."
His colleague Mr Malik then walked up for his security check and was asked: “Where’s the stick of dynamite?” In a post on his LinkedIn profile, Mr Kazi said he was stunned to be quizzed like this.
"Both of us walked away totally shocked at what had been said. Literally, we laughed and discussed 'did that just happen?' Once we got over that shock, we reported it to the information desk and spoke to management. They were mortified about what we had just experienced and acted on it immediately."
He added: "Another colleague saw how we responded and then told us how, on a stall yesterday, he was told to go back to where he belonged. Same s**t, different day."Altaf Kazi Altaf Kazi and Umar Malik were with colleagues visiting the British Museum after a work 'awayday'
Mr Kazi, from Handsworth Wood, said: "After the incident happened me and my colleague were discussing whether we should raise this as an issue or not. Then we remembered this quote: "What you're willing to walk past is the standard you accept."
"This made us speak to the information desk and raise our voice. Even the lady at the desk was mortified of what she was hearing. Our first reaction was disbelief and then it settled in. We need to make sure we are always reporting these incidents no matter who you are and what you do.
"We were thinking that if we walk past this incident what does that mean for us, do we accept it? And we shouldn’t."
Today the British Museum said they apologised for the incident. “On Thursday 30 June, visitors to Museum experienced inappropriate behaviour at our search facility. They immediately reported the incident and a senior security manager swiftly attended and discussed the matter with them, apologising on behalf of the Museum.
"Whilst they chose not to make a formal complaint, we took the matter seriously as we do not tolerate inappropriate behaviour and took rapid steps to address the situation with the employee concerned. The Museum is an inclusive space for all communities and we would like to reiterate our sincere apologies for their experience.”
The exchange triggered a shocked response when it was shared on Twitter and LinkedIn. Saidul Haque Saeed, Citizens UK Birmingham community organiser, replied: "The brazen nature of this. Not an ounce of worry about the consequence of saying this to someone." While communications consultant Hasan Patel added: "British Museum, I do hope you take action and look into what took place. Any form of racism is not acceptable."
A recent survey into public attitudes towards different ethnic and faith groups by the University of Birmingham found Muslims are the UK’s second ‘least liked’ group, after Gypsy and Irish Travellers, with 25.9% of the British public feeling negative towards Muslims.
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