London: An American Muslim teenager who was detained by UK immigration authorities at Britain’s Heathrow airport for 13 hours has accused them of “inhuman” treatment.
Ayan Mohamud was on her first trip outside the US to visit family in Leicester.
The UK Border Agency said the checks on the 18-year-old teenager were for immigration purposes but Mohamud said she felt she was “detained because I’m Muslim”.
She told the BBC: “(It) hit me that I was being judged based on what I was wearing on my head. After the Paris incident happened, the UK Border Agency feel that everyone wearing a scarf needs to be checked thoroughly.
“I felt it was inhuman for them to treat me that way,” she said.
She said her father warned her she might face questioning at the UK border, but she said she was not expecting to be “interrogated or held in a room for hours”.
Britain’s longest serving Indian-origin MP, Keith Vaz, said he plans to raise Miss Mohamud’s case in his capacity as chairman of the House of Commons’ influential Home Affairs Select Committee.
A UK Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases, but to ensure the correct decisions are reached it is sometimes necessary for Border Force to detain passengers while checks are carried out to ensure they qualify for entry to the UK.