A UK Muslim group is angry after it emerged that replica mosques were being used on a firing range. The group is demanding an apology from the British Army.
The structures, near Catterick in North Yorkshire, should be taken down immediately, demands the chairman of the Bradford Council for Mosques (BCM).
The Ministry of Defence had defended its use of the structures, saying it had “no intention” of causing offence.
“The BCM said it was particularly angry, as it had been assisting the army in its efforts to recruit more Muslims,” says the BBC.
Its chief executive, Saleem Khan, called for the army to apologize. “The first thing they need to do is remove this straightaway,” he said. “They do owe apologies to the Muslim community and it is the mindset which needs changing.”
There are seven of the green-topped structures on the range. Ishtiaq Ahmed of the BCM said that they were undoubtedly meant to resemble mosques.
“The shape of the structures, the colour of the dome – the green dome – symbolises an Islamic place of worship,” he said.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said that the range had been designed in response to feedback from Afghanistan. “Providing the best training facilities for our armed forces ahead of deployment to operational theatres is a priority for us.
“Facilities at Bellerby [near Catterick] have been upgraded in response to operational feedback from Afghanistan as it is crucial that our armed forces train at ranges that replicate the environment they will be deployed to.
“We have no intention of offending religious sensibilities.”