March 3, 2016 – British Nigerian Christian Man, Pastor Mistaken For ISIS Terrorist, Laolu Opebiyi Kicked Out Of Easyjet Plane Heading To Amsterdam
Pastor OlaOlu Opebiyi Of House On The Rock London Kicked Out Of Plane Because Of A Whatsapp Christian Prayer Group Tagged ISI Men
A 40-year-old London-based British Nigerian man, Olaolu Opebiyi was last Thursday disgraced while heading to Amsterdam.
A passenger beside him peeped into his phone and saw a whats-app group he created for the purpose of prayer.
The group tagged ISI (Iron Sharpeneth Iron) men was setup by a group of friends to do conference call uplift each other spiritually but the name ISI men is what forced the passenger beside him to assume he’s a terrorist.
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.
After an officer confirmed that he was being questioned because of what happened with the other passenger, Opebiyi explained that he was a Christian, showing them a copy of the Bible in his bag. “They asked me which church I attend and how long I have been going there,” he said. “They also ask if I have ever thought about changing my religion to which I replied ‘no’.”
They also asked him about the name of the conference call prayer group, which was “ISI men” – an acronym for “iron sharpens iron”, from the Bible quote “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”. The Guardian understands that the passenger who reported Opebiyi may have misread this as “Isis”.
An officer eventually told Opebiyi that he was in the clear but that the pilot had said he should take another flight. He suffered further humiliation when an officer accompanied him to the easyJet desk to help him get on the next flight and seven other passengers from the 6.45am flight, who had left the plane because of security fears, also joined the queue.
Opebiyi said one of them spotted him and said: “If he is on the next flight, I am not getting on the flight.” He said the officer took the female passenger aside and explained the situation. Before Opebiyi boarded the 10.25am flight, the officer shook his hand and expressed sympathy for his ordeal, he said.
Easyjet has apologised to Laolu who is now battling uncertainty about his freedom of movement in and out of the United Kingdom.