Geneva airport, dozens of Muslim passengers in traditional clothes had lined up on the floor to pray, facing Mecca.
The Geneva airport is facing an embarrassing situation concerning practicing Muslims: some of its own baggage handlers.
Thirty of them had had their tarmac access badge removed due to strong suspicions of their belonging to extremist groups. Following the attacks of November 13, 2015 in Paris, France had sent information on them to the Geneva authorities.
In addition, a report from the newspaper Le Temps in January 2016 described a very tense atmosphere in the department where these ex-employees of North African origin had been working because they had imposed their religious practices there.
In spite of this, the situation did not go unnoticed last week, either. In the hall of Geneva airport, dozens of Muslim passengers in traditional clothes had lined up on the floor to pray, facing Mecca.
“I was surprised to see these spontaneous religious acts between Gate C1 and a restaurant,” tells the man who took a picture of the scene. “Thirty men and women were praying loudly with loudspeakers, even though there is a room available in the airport specifically for that.”
According to security officers on site, this type of scene has been occurring every week in the same place, a few hours before the departure of flights to destinations in the Islamic world. That afternoon, planes were departing for Dubai, Marrakech, and Jeddah.
As the person responsible for Geneva airport’s public relations, Sébastien Leprat has confirmed these facts. “In coordination with the police, we regularly ask these people not to do this in the public areas. For passengers who wish to pray, if their schedule allows it and they are in possession of a plane ticket, we invite them to make use of the meditation room, which is located past the security checks and is open to all religions.”