A 38-year-old man, Shehraz Sarwar, has been jailed after causing terror and tears among travelers by shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ‘boom’ on a Birmingham-bound Emirates Boeing 777 flight from Dubai. Sarwar has been jailed for 10 weeks after a Birmingham crown court heard that some of the 347 passengers burst into tears after becoming terrified by Sarwar’s shouting during a turbulence-hit landing on February 1, 2016.
Prosecuting counsel told the court that Sarwar had caused difficulties from the onset of the flight on two occasions by refusing to put on his seat belt during take-off and throwing food around the cabin.
“There was terrible turbulence during the flight and some passengers were very frightened. The defendant started chanting Allahu Akbar over and over again and very loudly. People were getting very distressed with his behaviour. When the plane finally landed, he shouted ‘boom’. It left some passengers in tears while one man angrily confronted the defendant before being told to sit down by cabin staff. Police were then called and the defendant was arrested.”
Mr Balbir Singh, defending lawyer argued that Sarwar had been upset after attending his grandmother’s funeral in Pakistan.
“There was considerable turbulence. One of the cabin crew, with 14 years’ experience, said it was the worst landing she had ever experienced. Mr Sarwar was scared during the flight. He prayed, chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’, which translates as ‘God is Great’. When the plane landed he did shout out ‘boom’.
“It was a very foolish thing to do and he can’t really explain why he said it – it was the height of foolishness. He is very sorry for his actions and realises what distress this caused to other passengers.”