MI5 fails in attempt to recruit Moslem cleric

UK ‘terror’ airport stops come under new scrutiny

A controversial clause in the UK’s counter-terrorism act has come under renewed attention from independent reviewers.

London, UK – Usman Ali has grown used to the routine whenever he passes through an airport on his way in or out of the UK.
As he walks to catch a flight, or shortly after touching down, he says he will be stopped by police and questioned without access to a lawyer and without the right to silence.
His laptop and mobile phone are examined and their data copied. He has also been searched, fingerprinted, obliged to give a DNA sample and photographed repeatedly.
Ali, a London-based Muslim cleric who travels frequently as part of his work for a charity delivering aid to Syrian refugees, says he has been stopped six times this year alone, and many times prior to that, often for several hours.
Police and other border officials are able to do this using Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, a controversial piece of legislation that allows them to detain anybody even without reasonable cause for suspicion.
“It’s usually SO15 [the Metropolitan Police’s specialist counter-terrorism branch] that stops me,” Ali told Al Jazeera of a recent encounter at Luton Airport.
“As soon as I sat down, I said, ‘Here’s my phone, here’s my laptop, I don’t need anybody informed, I don’t need a solicitor, I don’t need a glass of water. Just get on with the questioning.'”
Ali believes he is being targeted by the security services because he once refused to work as an informer for MI5, the UK’s internal security agency. On two occasions at different airports in recent weeks he says he was passed on to the same MI5 officer after initial police questioning.
“He said he was informed that I was coming back and that’s why he had come down to see me. So I’m obviously on their radar. Their main issues are my views about jihad and do we give money to the rebels [in Syria].”
The Tap Blog is a collective of like-minded researchers and writers who’ve joined forces to distribute information and voice opinions avoided by the world’s media.
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