British Army criticized for putting up structures resembling mosques at firing range

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London, Apr 9(ANI): A Muslim group in UK has criticized the British Army for building and using structures resembling mosques at the Bellerby firing range in North Yorkshire.

The Bradford Council for Mosques (BCM) also said the features on the range should be taken down immediately.

Mohammed Saleem Khan, the BCM's Chief Executive, said the shape and colour of the structures, a green dome, symbolized an Islamic place of worship.

"It is so obvious. Even a non-Muslim recognized the significance.

The first person who raised the issue with us was a non-Muslim. We are trying to achieve unity and cohesion and encourage British Muslims to participate in the Army and we accommodate visits from the Army," The Telegraph quoted Khan, as saying.

"It is clearly very offensive. We feel there should be an apology and they should be removed straight away. If it was a mistake it should be removed straight away," he added.

Meanwhile, the Army has apologized for the structure, but said it was crucial for the soldiers to be trained in an environment, which replicated where they were deployed.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said the structures were "generic Eastern buildings" and were not used as target practice.

"We apologize for any offence that we may have caused. It was never our intention for these generic structures to look like or replicate mosques, only to provide a setting similar to operational environments in which our personnel could train," a Ministry of Defence spokesman said.

"We are seeking a meeting with representatives from the Muslim community to hear their concerns in order to discuss the way forward," he added. (ANI)

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