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Friday, 30 August, 2002, 08:54 GMT 09:54 UK
Hijack suspect 'not attending conference'
British Muslims
Around 3,000 Muslims will attend the conference
An organiser of an Islamic conference in Birmingham says it is "highly unlikely" that the man charged with trying to hijack a Ryanair flight in Sweden, was due to attend the conference.

Security officers at Stockholm's Vasteras Airport say they found a handgun in a toiletries bag when they scanned the 29-year-old man's hand luggage.

The man - who was born in Sweden to Tunisian parents - had been trying to board a Ryanair flight to London's Stansted airport.

Swedish Police say he was with a party travelling to an Islamic conference in Birmingham and believe the man was going to hijack the plane.

'Exposing ideologies'

Abu Khadeejah, one of the organisers of the 6th Islamic National Conference in Small Heath, said he would be "surprised" if the man was attending the three-day event, which begins on Friday.

It is being sponsored by Salafipublications.com.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The one thing Salafipublications.com is known for is refuting and exposing those types of ideologies within the fold of Islam that try to put forward the type of viewpoint that you can hijack and take the lives of innocent individuals."

He added: "It's something that we have even produced a booklet on post September 11.

"Around 20,000 copies were distributed freely among various groups and organisations clarifying the true Islamic position."

Mr Khadeejah said the conference was pay-at-the-door therefore there was no official list of those attending until they turned up on the day, but he had not received any confirmation about anyone from Sweden attending.

Among the topics being discussed at the conference are Islamic fundamentalism, the Islamic creed and the life of the Prophet Mohammed.

Mr Khadeejah said up to 3,000 delegates were expected at the conference.


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30 Aug 02 | Europe
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