Page last updated at 17:11 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 18:11 UK

Army to remove replica mosques on North Yorks range

The MoD wants to meet with representatives of the Muslim community

The Ministry of Defence has agreed to take down replica mosques which were being used by the British Army on a North Yorkshire firing range.

A Muslim group had demanded the removal of the structures at Catterick and accused the Army of reinforcing negative perceptions of Muslims.

An Army spokesperson apologised and said its was "in the process of removing the offending structures".

There were seven of the green-domed buildings on the Bellerby range.

The Bradford Council for Mosques (BCM) said it was particularly angry as it had been assisting the army in its efforts to recruit more Muslims.

It was never our intention for these generic structures to look like or replicate mosques
Army spokesperson

The Army spokesperson added: "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.

"We apologise for any offence that we may have caused. We are working with representatives from the Muslim community and are in the process of removing the offending structures."

Ishtiaq Ahmed, of the BCM, said that the structures 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. "Anyone looking at it will think about mosques and Muslims and think about them negatively."

He accused the Army of reinforcing negative perceptions of Muslims.

"What angers me very much is that we are conditioning the young British to say that mosques are a place where you are going to find danger and a place to target," Mr Ahmed said. "That is really disturbing."



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SEE ALSO
Army removes firing range mosques
08 Apr 10 |  North Yorkshire
Replica mosques on firing range
08 Apr 10 |  North Yorkshire

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