UK plane alert: Pair charged with endangering aircraft

Two men have been charged with endangering an aircraft after RAF Typhoon jets escorted a passenger plane over the UK. Tayyab Subhani, 30, and Mohammed Safdar, 41, both of Nelson, Lancashire, were detained at Stansted on Friday. Police boarded the Pakistan International Airlines flight, originally en-route to Manchester, after it was diverted to Stansted. The plane, flight PK709, left Lahore – the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab – at 09:35 local time (05:35 BST) on Friday and had been due to arrive in Manchester at 13:30 BST. One passenger told the BBC the pilot had informed them there had been threats. The airline said there had been 308 passengers on board, as well as 14 crew including pilots, with a mixture of Pakistani and British passport holders.

Conference for Muslims in the military

A country house in Hampshire was the rarefied setting for the second conference hosting Muslims serving in Britain’s armed forces. Close to 400 Muslims serve in the military – about 300 in the Army, 50 in the RAF and 40 in the Navy. Imam Asim Hafiz, who has served as the Muslim chaplain for the last three years, organised the conference and is in charge of ministering to the spiritual needs of Muslims in all three services. “They are soldiers but at the same time they have a faith identity, a Muslim identity,” he told the BBC. He went on to explain that the conference provided Muslims with advice on tackling some of the issues they may face – like how to talk to superiors about getting regular prayer time, or having halal food available or fasting. Some of the older officers explained that when they joined the issue of halal food was not understood at all, leading to a diet that consisted largely of potatoes and peas. But while progress has been made, there was a sense that more work needed to be done to educate officers on how to deal with Muslims in their ranks and what it means to practise a religion. “It is an education for the individual on how to raise these issues and an education to the hierarchy that these are just different requirements that need to be considered,” explained one flight lieutenant in the RAF.

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Conference for Muslims in the military

A country house in Hampshire was the rarefied setting for the second conference hosting Muslims serving in Britain’s armed forces. Close to 400 Muslims serve in the military – about 300 in the Army, 50 in the RAF and 40 in the Navy. Imam Asim Hafiz, who has served as the Muslim chaplain for the last three years, organised the conference and is in charge of ministering to the spiritual needs of Muslims in all three services. “They are soldiers but at the same time they have a faith identity, a Muslim identity,” he told the BBC. He went on to explain that the conference provided Muslims with advice on tackling some of the issues they may face – like how to talk to superiors about getting regular prayer time, or having halal food available or fasting. Some of the older officers explained that when they joined the issue of halal food was not understood at all, leading to a diet that consisted largely of potatoes and peas. But while progress has been made, there was a sense that more work needed to be done to educate officers on how to deal with Muslims in their ranks and what it means to practise a religion. “It is an education for the individual on how to raise these issues and an education to the hierarchy that these are just different requirements that need to be considered,” explained one flight lieutenant in the RAF.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=9CC40E37CC587FE51F5421B4&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News

Students learn to fly

Muslim students are being encouraged to learn how to fly planes in a Salford University project. Eighty students – mostly from Muslim, black and minority ethnic backgrounds – have flown a glider or trainer aircraft as part of the scheme. The project, called Festival of Flight, is opening doors for students felt excluded from the world of flight in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Centre. It aims to ground stereotype views of young people from black and ethnic backgrounds. One student who took part is Rozaidah Abd Rahman, who co-piloted a two-seater plane. “I had the time of my life – when I landed, I couldn’t stop smiling and saying `awesome’. I recommend everyone to experience flying at least once in their life. The 9/11 and 7/7 tragedies have hit the spirits of many young people, especially Muslims and this festival uses the flight theme to open their eyes. “It creates a forum whereby different people – who would not meet otherwise can come together and exchange ideas and experiences,” she said. A photo exhibition on the project will be opened by Salford MP and Communities Minister Hazel Blears. The exhibition is part of the Festival at the university, which will also be attended by aircrew from the RAF and United States Air Force, light aircraft pilots and balloonists.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=12419045CE564D364E07CD82&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News