This is a case study from our report 20 Years of TACT: Justice Under Threat.
Read the full report here.
“Our stop went from terrorism, to incitement, to parenting – they were looking for anything.”
They kept asking what we had been doing, and where we had gone. But on holiday, every single meal we’d had, we’d done as a family together, and we always did every activity together. I gave the officers my phone and even indicated when they had missed finding the SD cards. We co-operated fully. We even handed over our passports.
They kept picking on ridiculous things. They said, “You went there with expensive clothes”, and I explained that we had bought them before we went on holiday, because that’s what you do, you buy new clothes for holiday. They commented on my wife’s jewellery, and I told them we had bought it in Dubai as it’s a good investment, since this is what I have been raised to believe.
They took my wife for questioning, they tried hard to get her to take her hijab off. She refused. They kept saying “Oh, come on. Most other women take their hijab off when we ask them to, and they are religious.”
They asked me all about my beliefs. Mine have changed over the years. I have been a practicing Muslim from age 21, and I have moved from a Hanafi background to a Sufi background, then I went on to study more contemporary studies. So my views have changed. They know my beliefs have changed. And yet they always asked me why.
The whole time during this Schedule 7 stop, they wouldn’t give us much information about our kids, or what they were doing with them. It was very stressful. We asked about them. They kept saying “The children are so talkative, they have given us so much information”.
But I knew this was a lie, because we don’t talk to our kids much about politics. Later, we f they asked the children other questions. They even asked my daughter if we hit them, and if we leave them in our home alone. We don’t do either of those things, so the answer was always no.
Still, the Schedule 7 stop went from terrorism, to incitement to terrorism, to whether we hit our kids or leave them home alone.Later, social services came to my house. When they did, they asked the children all types of questions about life at home, what we do, what we say, what we watch.
They wanted to speak to the children alone, and we made it known to them that we would never allow that. I argued that they’d had a time limit in which they had to intervene. We had looked at the law, and my wife had seen that based on the Schedule 7 law, they had three or four months to intervene after a stop if there was cause for concern.
A bit later, we got a letter in the post, from the head of social services in our local authority, who was present at the airport at Schedule 7. This letter said they wanted to take us to court. It said there was a special procedure, that it would be forced on us.
One of their concerns was the risk of flight. This, even though we voluntarily handed our passports over! That was weird.
To top it all, my son, who was 8 then, had been diagnosed with cancer and had spent three months in intensive care. He was in hospital and he’d had a cardiac arrest. They were aware of that, and yet they still said we were at risk of flight!
My wife and I like to question everything, and at the hospital, we had asked the doctors lots of questions about our son’s medications – and that, they said, was a concern for them. We missed one appointment, and they brought that up. But we had missed the appointment, and before we had phoned and rescheduled and we hadn’t missed the second appointment.
But this just shows that the doctors and nurses were also co-operating with them.
But you see, these were petty things. We could tell they were looking and looking – because they couldn’t find anything: there was no extremism, no problems with parenting and so on – they had nothing, nothing at all, and yet they kept looking.
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)