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.

Al-Qaida will take decades to eradicate, thinktank says

By Mark Tran Al-Qaida has retained the ability to plan and coordinate large-scale attacks in the west, a leading thinktank warned today. The terrorist group has proved adaptable and resilient, the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London said in its annual survey, six years after the group became a household word with its attacks on America’s World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. “The United States and its allies have failed to deal a deathblow to al-Qaida; the organisation’s ideology appears to have taken root to such a degree that it will require decades to eradicate,” IISS said in its 2007 strategic survey.