22/03/2013 12:56 GMT

Edinburgh Airport Asks Passenger What Religion He Follows During Security Screening

A passenger going through body scanners at Edinburgh airport has complained after being asked what religion he was as he went through security.

According to the airport it is optional to answer the question which is part of a national survey to ascertain whether people of certain religions are not unfairly singled out for body scans.

However the Edinburgh Evening News reported that this passenger was not told answering the question was optional.

Passenger Iain McGill was chosen at random for a body scan as he was travelling last Friday. He told the newspaper:

“I was absolutely, definitely, 100% not informed I was not obliged to answer the questions.

“I didn’t make a fuss as I didn’t want to risk not being allowed on the flight."

Edinburgh Airport told the Huffington Post UK they had had no official complaints and that passengers had to be asked their religion as part of the diversity DfT code of practice.

Official guidance reads: "Edinburgh Airport needs to carry out security scanning selection fairly and without prejudice.

"To help the UK government monitor passengers chosen for scanning they have asked us to collect certain information. It is not compulsory and you cannot be identified from the information.”

Passengers were also asked what they considered their ethnic origin.

Birmingham, Heathrow and Manchester airports said they were not asking passengers these questions.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: "Passengers who go through body scanners are given the opportunity to answer questions to help us make sure that we meet the diversity guidelines set out to us by the Department for Transport.

"These questions are voluntary and passengers are under no obligation to answer them. This is clearly stated by our security staff following the scan.

“We pride ourselves on customer service and are disappointed that the voluntary nature of the questions wasn’t understood clearly by this passenger.

"Passengers who have any questions regarding our security process should ask an officer or supervisor."