Paris airport bars Muslim staff

More than 70 Muslim workers at France’s main airport have been stripped of their security clearance for allegedly posing a risk to passengers. More than 100 baggage handlers and aircraft cleaners had been under surveillance for months. In all, 72 people were later told their passes allowing access to secure areas were being withdrawn.

Airport officials say some of the workers had frequently visited Pakistan and Afghanistan the previous year. Some of them are suing the authorities, claiming they are being discriminated against because of their religion.

The interior ministry last year ordered a security review of airport staff.

“Seventy-two employees had their badges withdrawn [because] they are linked to fundamentalist movements with potentially terrorist aims,” Jacques Lebrot, the deputy prefect in charge of the airport, told the AFP news agency. The “great majority” were linked to an “Islamist movement”, he said.

BBC News, 2 November 2006