The creator of popular children's character Fireman Sam claims “Something like George Orwell’s 1984 now seems to have arrived in Gatwick airport" after he was detained by airport security staff for making a lighthearted remark.
David Jones, 67, was detained by staff for over an hour following a quip which offended a Muslim security guard. As he prepared to go through the X-ray scanner he placed his scarf in the tray. The Telegraph reported he said to a security official “If I was wearing this scarf over my face, I wonder what would happen” as he noticed a Muslim woman dressed in a traditional hijab pass through security without revealing her face.His remark was enough for an accusation of racism to be made, which Jones flatly denied, maintaing it was simply an observation. Nevertheless he was detained by staff who insisted he apologize to a Muslim guard who said she was deeply distressed by his comment.The Daily Mail took umbrage at Mr. Jones's detention, writing "The total and utter lack of common sense by the authorities at Gatwick which led to Mr Jones being detained for an hour is staggering. The absolute determination of the Muslim security guard to be offended when no offence was meant nor logical to be taken is absurd and ridiculous."Mr Jones said of the incident "I feel that my rights as an individual have been violated. What I underwent amounts to intimidation and detention. I was humiliated and degraded in full public view. I am a 67-year-old pensioner and have lived my life within the law. I do not have even one point on my driving licence.”He was particularly aggrieved at the expectation he should apologise for his remark which he says was "not racist" and "made no reference to race or religion."Mr Jones was only released when he agreed to compromise and say that his remark "could" be considered offensive, but he intends to make complaints with Gatwick airport authorities and British Airways.According to SMH British Transport Police do allow travelers to cover their faces for religious purposes although they are required to reveal them at passport control.
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