Generals are trying to block plans to build a mosque with two 100ft minarets next to Sandhurst. The £3million building would have a clear view over the military academy and is just 400 yards from its parade ground.
Senior officers oppose the project saying it could pose a security threat to cadets. Yesterday an Army source said: ‘This has gone right to the top of the chain of command. There is very real concern that if this thing gets built then soldiers could be put at risk. It is outrageous to even think that the officers of the future would have to watch their backs while they are still in training.”
The gigantic mosque is the idea of the Bengali Welfare Association, which worships at the al-Kharafi Islamic Centre in Camberley, Surrey. The group wants to demolish a listed Victorian school building in use as a mosque at the centre and replace it with a sprawling Saudi Arabian-style building.
Planning papers reveal that the massive structure would tower over local buildings. As well as the two minarets, it would feature a large central dome, five smaller outlying domes, a morgue, a library and a separate worship area for women.
See also News of the World, 21 February 2010
Note that right at the end of the NotW article a spokesperson from Surrey Heath Council is quoted as stating: “The submitted plans state that there will be no access to the minarets above the roof level of the building.”
Update: See “MoD ‘no longer concerned over mosque minarets'” at Get Surrey, which reports:
“The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said it has no serious reservations about plans to build a traditional mosque in Camberley, close to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst…. The MoD had taken issue with the towering minarets before Surrey Heath’s planning committee voted on the plans last month, saying it had concerns due to a ‘security risk over the tallest parts of the building overlooking the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst’. But a spokesman said on Monday: ‘The plans were revised so access to the towers would be restricted to essential maintenance only’.”