'I'm not Muslim': Pensioner arrested at airport when asked to remove shoes

OAP spent six months facing racism charges after 'Muslim' comment

Pensioner arrested over

A pensioner faced a racism charge for six months after he said "I'm not Muslim" when he was asked to remove his shoes at airport security.

Paul Griffith, 75, set off the alarm at Stansted Airport security on 1 April as he was preparing to jet off to Malaga for a week's holiday.

He was asked to remove his shoes, and said: "I am not Muslim, am I?"

A security guard was offended by the remark and called police.

Mr Griffith was allowed to go on his trip but was then arrested when he returned.

According to the Daily Mail, he was charged with causing "racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress".

The Mirror reports he said: "When I got back I had to wait six hours before they interviewed me again, arrested me and said that was being charged with causing racially aggravated harassment .

"I was photographed, had my finger prints taken and they also took a DNA swab from my mouth. Then they said I would have to go to my local police station.

"By that time I had missed my lift home and eventually had to get a bus. When I went to Colchester police station I was told I had been charged with an offence under the Crime and Disorder Act but that I could accept a caution instead.

"I refused to do that - I had done nothing wrong and I wasn't going to admit to a criminal charge if I wasn't guilty of any crime."

He went to Chelmsford Magistrates Court where he pleaded not guilty to the charge, and the case was adjourned to last Thursday.

But 24 hours before he was due back in court, he got a phone call to say the case had been dropped.

Mr Griffith described the whole thing as "stressful" and a waste of taxpayers' money, adding that he also had a heart attack while waiting for the court date, as well as having to pay £1,500 in legal fees.

He said: "It has been incredibly stressful - all because I asked a question and apparently dared to use the M word."

Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS East of England, Frank Ferguson, told the Daily Mail: "Following receipt of the evidential file a full review of the evidence took place.

"In order to successfully prosecute a charge of racially or religiously aggravated disorderly conduct, we first have to show that the language used was threatening or abusive and in these particular circumstances we could not show that to the high criminal standard required."

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