Meditating Portuguese actor mistaken for terrorist on plane

Heitor Lourenco says he was detained after chanting Buddhist texts on plane


A Portuguese actor claims he was mistaken for a terrorist and removed from a flight by police after praying in Tibetan on a plane waiting to take off from Paris.

Heitor Lourenco said he was meditating to Buddhist texts on a Transavia flight to Lisbon, Portugal when passengers mistakenly became alarmed.

"Police told me that I had been denounced as a terrorism suspect aboard the plane because I was reciting the Quran aloud, that I was reading a text involving words 'death' and 'bomb'," he said on Portuguese TV.

Reuters reports that the 47-year-old said he was reading from his tablet which had a timer to tell him how long he had meditated, which passengers mistook for being associated with a bomb.

Police later confirmed that he posed no threat to the flight and a spokeswoman for the airline said a passenger alerted the cabin crew over Lourenco's "suspicious attitude in prayer", the Independent reports.

Lourenco was released after police watched videos of him as an actor and comedian, and checked his Wikipedia page which states that he is a Buddhist.

In 2012, an 18-month-old toddler was removed from a plane after airport security deemed her a 'terror suspect'.

Little Riyanna had just boarded a JetBlue flight with her parents when an airline employee approached the family and ask them to get off the plane to speak to officers from the Transport Security Agency.

Riyanna's mother, who wished to remain anonymous, asked "For what?" to which the staff member replied: "Well, it's not you or your husband. Your daughter was flagged as no fly."

Riyanna's father said: "It's absurd. It made no sense. Why would an 18-month-old child be on a no-fly list?"

Both parents believed they were stopped because they are both of Middle Eastern descent, and Riyanna's mother wears a hijab.

Both were born in America and raised in New Jersey.

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