Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary apologises for saying terrorists ‘will generally be males of a Muslim persuasion’
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Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary apologises for saying terrorists ‘will generally be males of a Muslim persuasion’

RYANAIR CHIEF executive Michael O’Leary has apologised following comments made an interview with a UK newspaper in which he said terrorists “will generally be males of a Muslim persuasion”.

The 58-year-old made the remarks during an interview with The Times.

Speaking on the topic of airport security, O’Leary said that families with young children should be waived through because there is “virtually” no chance of them being bombers.

”Who are the bombers? They are going to be single males travelling on their own,” he said.

“If you are travelling with a family of kids, on you go; the chances you are going to blow them all up is zero.”

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He continued “You can’t say stuff, because it’s racism, but it will generally be males of a Muslim persuasion. Thirty years ago it was the Irish.

“If that is where the threat is coming from, deal with the threat.”

O’Leary’s remarks were met with an angry response from Labour MP Khalid Mahmood who accused the Ryanair boss of “encouraging racism”.

“If he can tell me what colour Muslims are then I’d be very happy to learn from him – you can’t judge a book by its cover,” he told The Times.

“In Germany this week a white person killed eight people. Should we profile white people to see if they’re being fascists?

“He’s being very blinkered and is actually encouraging racism.”

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Michael O'Leary, CEO of Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair, gestures during a press conference on January 13, 2015 at the Hahn airport in Lautzenhausen, western Germany. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS FREY (Photo credit should read THOMAS FREY/AFP/Getty Images)

Ryanair subsequently issued a statement addressing the newspaper’s headline which read: ‘Airline boss wants extra checks on Muslim men’. 

The statement added that Michael O’Leary had apologised for any offence caused by the interview. 

“The headline in today’s paper is simply inaccurate. No call for extra checks on any group or persons was made,” it read. 

“Michael was only calling for more effective airport security checks which would do away with much of the unnecessary queues at airport security today for all passengers. 

“He apologises sincerely for any offence caused to any group by today’s inaccurate headline.”