A new report on Schedule 7 shows how Muslims are being ‘systematically targeted’ at UK borders.

The analysis of the use of Schedule 7 powers and its impact on the Muslim community was released by CAGE this week.

Schedule 7 stops follow 3 stages: screenings, examinations and detentions and can last anything up to 20 minutes and usually take place on or around the passport control desk.

CAGE said the report was a product of three years of work and the research suggests the stops at ports disproportionately target Muslim travellers.

Schedule 7 has been in effect for nearly two decades. 

Schedule 7 powers include the following: You can be held without charge or suspicion or evidence for up to 6 hours; You do not have the right to remain silent; You can be searched and your possessions seized; Your electronic devices can be confiscated and held for seven days, and you may be coerced to disclose your password; All your data can be collected and retained; You are obliged to surrender your DNA and fingerprints and You can be strip searched.

CAGE has made an official compliant to the policing regulator, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, on behalf of 10 people. The group also wrote to MPs on the all-party group on British Muslims.

The report goes on to say how an Increasing number of Muslim women were forced to remove headscarves at Schedule 7 stops:

It says, “Through our interactions, we have begun to see a rising number of women stopped under Schedule 7. There is no way to gauge if this is a deliberate policy change, or whether it is simply due to an increase in reporting from impacted people.

“We are in touch with a number of Muslim women who were forced to remove their headscarves during Schedule 7 stops;

“During examinations many are forced to remove their headscarves in order that mug-shots are taken of them;

“This is a gross violation of their right to practice their faith and an attack on their person given that Schedule 7 stops are suspicionless;

“There is a lack of appropriate safeguards for Muslim women, which only amplifies the sense of victimhood and the Islamophobic nature of these stops.”

Muhammad Rabbani, International Director for CAGE, said, “The discrimination faced by Muslim travellers highlights how embedded Islamophobia is in Schedule 7, and in broader counter terrorism powers. Officers routinely ask intrusive questions about religion and practice, which amounts to a modern day inquisition.”

 “Over the last decade alone, Schedule 7 has seen over 400,000 people stopped, 99.993% were co innocent of any wrongdoing.

"This highlights the disproportionate use the power and illustrates its abuse with devastating consequences for thousands of people. The practice amounts to the most exhaustive racial profiling strategy witnessed in modern times.

 “Our report evidences the severe discrimination faced by Muslims at UK borders. Islamophobia must be challenged at every level and it is for this reason that we have been compelled to send our research to the APPG on British Muslims and seek an urgent investigation.

Here are just some of those featured in the report and what they said

 “I kept asking them about what their concerns about me were. They said they are concerned about ‘radicalisation’. I said, "What is ‘radicalisation’: taking a tin of beans, to feed someone?" They treat you as guilty before innocent, and it is a very brutal way of doing things. In their minds, they feel: oh, we’ve got him. They have that kind of attitude.” Aid Worker

“Then she said, we need to take your DNA and fingerprints. And she was very clever. 
She said: "Let’s do this quickly while we wait for the solicitor to call back’. I really felt like a criminal then. I have never even gone through a red light, never done anything wrong. I really didn’t understand.” Mother of 7-year-old.

“My concern at this stage was just my three kids and what was happening to them. I don’t know where they were taken. The youngest was 3 years old. Imagine someone separates you from your children and then they start asking you all these silly questions, while all the time you’re just thinking about what is happening to your children?” Father of three

“I’ve been stopped more than seven times. Whenever I leave or enter the country I am stopped. It doesn’t matter what my destination is. I am stopped because I have done some aid work in Syria and also because of my beard and my colour. If you are a white man, you can go to Syria and do aid work but if you are brown man you are a terrorist. They’ve taken my DNA three or four times and my fingerprints. They don’t need to do this all the time; they only need to do this once.” Businessman.

“They asked for my laptop password and phone password, and my fingerprints and DNA. Then it was questions about my religious views, whether I prayed, and how often I prayed. They then asked me political questions, about what I thought about Baghdadi, and Iraq and Afghanistan. They asked me about Assad, and that was tricky as sometimes Britain loves him and sometimes they don’t .... Eventually after six hours, they let me go. They said I was no threat. But now, almost every time, I’ve been stopped by Mi5 when I get back. Literally the moment I step off the plane, the men in suits are at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for me.” Filmmaker

“I was with my mother, who is in her late fifties and doesn’t speak English. They took us both upstairs, and as we walked in, there were four other officers. My mom was very anxious. I told her not to say anything and then I had to leave her alone. They took me into a separate room, away from her. As you can imagine, an elderly woman … she was quite stressed. They released her after nine hours.” Madrassa teacher

“They wanted to strip search me ... They said they want me to take everything off, and squat down in front of them. I told them no way; I would never do it. They said they are going to do it to me, even by force. I said, I am not going to bend over in front of six men and show myself to you like that. 

"I said, I will take my trousers off, but keep my boxers on, and you can put your fingers in the elastic, and they said no, we need to look and see if you have put something inside yourself. I refused. They dragged me and threw me on the ground. … I couldn’t tolerate that, and I put my arms out and they handcuffed me. They held me in this position. They told me it was Home Office-approved position. It’s They told me it was Home Office-approved position. It’s a stress position ... They dragged me like this through the airport.” Taxi driver