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A Christian business analyst was booted from a flight from the United Kingdom to Amsterdam when his seatmate, reading on the man’s smartphone as he typed messages, apparently saw the word “prayer” and reported him to authorities as a possible security threat.

The Christian Institute said the Christian man, Laolu Opebiyi, who was born in Nigeria, was using the WhatsApp program to set up a prayer meeting with friends.

“The prayer group was called ‘ISI men,’ a reference to the biblical proverb ‘iron sharpens iron’ (Proverbs 27:17),” the report said.

That verse is, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

The London Guardian reported that on an easyJet flight last Thursday, Opebiyi, 40, of London, was forced to give up his telephone and his password to authorities, who ordered him off the flight.

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Opebiyi told the newspaper, “Someone felt I was a terrorist because they saw the word ‘prayer’ on my phone and now I stand in uncertainty about my freedom of movement in and out of the United Kingdom.

The man who reported him was not named.

“That guy doesn’t know me and within two minutes he’s judging me,” Opebiyi said. “Even if I was a Muslim, it was pretty unfair the way I was treated. I don’t think anyone, irrespective of their religion, should be treated in such a way.

“If we keep on giving into this kind of bigotry and irrational fear, I dare say that the terrorists will have achieved their aim.”

The report said Opebiyi was waiting for the flight’s 6:45 a.m. departure when his seatmate asked, “What do you mean by ‘prayer’?”

Opebyiyi responded he was arranging with friends for prayer.

“About two minutes later, the male passenger went to the front of the plane and began a conversation with the cabin crew, Opebiyi said. The man was taken to the door of the cockpit and returned 15 minutes later, telling Opebiyi that he was getting off the plane because he felt unwell. A few minutes later, two armed officers entered the plane. They asked Opebiyi for his phone and told him to remove his belongings and accompany them off the plane and into the terminal building,” the Guardian said.

Questions and explanations followed, and Opebiyi reported disclosing what church he attended, how long he had been going there and also denying if he was changing his religion.

Eventually, investigators told him he was cleared, but the pilot said he should take a later flight, forcing Opebiyi to wait in line again.

Police confirmed officers removed an individual from the flight, the Guardian said, but they were “satisfied that there was no concern around the passenger traveling.”

An easyJet official told the paper: “The safety and security of its passengers and crew is our highest priority which means that if a security concern is raised we will always investigate it as a precautionary measure. We would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused to the passenger.”

“The Evidence Bible” is now available and includes, besides the King James version, dozens of articles expanding answers to questions such as why is there suffering, explanations about what Muslims believe and scientific facts written millennia before man discovered them.

 

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