9 men thrown off Ryanair flight for shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’
The group was removed from the Madrid-bound flight before it took off from Zaventem Airport, Brussels early Saturday.
The airport was targeted by suicide bombers in the Brussels attacks on March 22, 2016, in which 32 people were killed and over 300 injured
Following the disruptive passengers’ removal, the Boeing 737-800 was briefly evacuated and searched before departing with a two-hour delay around 9:15am local time.
Spokesperson for the Belgian federal police, Peter De Waele, confirmed the incident to RT.com, and said one man was arrested.
“The flight commander refused to take these nine people (a group of friends) after the incident. One of them was a foolish joker and called 'Allahu Akbar' ('God is great'),” said De Waele.
A spokesperson for Ryanair told RT.com that the flight crew requested police assistance “after a number of passenger became disruptive prior to departure.”
“Police removed and detained the individuals before the aircraft departed to Madrid. We will not tolerate unruly or disruptive behaviour at any time and the safety and comfort of our customers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority,” said the airline spokesperson.
“This is now a matter for local police," the statement concluded.
Spokesperson for the Halle-Vilvoorde region, Carol Vercarre, said the passenger was presumably under the influence of alcohol “and wanted to make a funny joke.”
“Despite the fact that we suspect that the passenger would never perform his threat, we can’t take this lightly,” Vercarre added.