The notoriously pugnacious businessman, who is in charge of Europe’s biggest airline, has called for more stringent security checks on “males of a Muslim persuasion”. His comments came the day after a female British convert to Islam admitted to a plan to blow up St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Michael O’Leary, the chief executive officer of the Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair, has been accused of racism for saying that the terrorism threat comes from Muslim men.
“Who are the bombers? They are going to be single males travelling on their own,” O’Leary, 58, told The Times in an interview published on Saturday.
“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 suggested, however, that checks should be more relaxed for families travelling with young children because there was “zero” chance of them being the attackers.
What was the reaction?
The comments were framed as “racist” by lawmakers and campaigners.
The Muslim Council of Britain said in a statement: “He openly advocates discrimination against ‘males of a Muslim persuasion’, which presumably is not based on specific intelligence but solely whether someone ‘looks or acts like a Muslim’. This is the very definition of Islamophobia.”
“It is a shame that such racism is being expressed so openly, and that the CEO…