The CEO of Ryanair has been accused of Islamophobia after he said Muslim men should be profiled at airports, suggesting they post a greater security risk.
In an interview with The Times, Michael O’Leary said that Muslim men who are travelling alone are more likely to be “bombers” and are a greater risk to airlines than other passengers.
O’Leary, who has led the Irish budget airline since 1994, said that most airport security measures were “completely irrelevant”, adding that checks on families should be less strict as “the chances [they] are going to blow them all up is zero”.
“Who are the bombers? They are going to be single males traveling on their own... You can’t say stuff, because it’s racism, but it will generally be males of a Muslim persuasion.
“Thirty years ago, it was the Irish. If that is where the threat is coming from, deal with the threat,” he told The Times.
British politician Khalid Mahmood, accused O’Leary of Islamophobia and the Muslim Council of Britain said O’Leary made discriminatory remarks.
Ryanair told The National that O’Leary did not call for extra checks at airports to be made.
A spokesperson for the airline told the newspaper: “Michael was only calling for more effective airport security checks which would do away with much of the unnecessary queues at airport security today for all passengers. He apologises sincerely for any offence caused to any group by today’s inaccurate headline.”
Ryanair, which is Europe’s largest airline, currently serves Muslim-majority countries including Turkey and Jordan.