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Cheers - AE

Sunday, 21 March 2010

God things come in threes.

I seem to have a few posts teed up that touch on religious topics so I might as well throw them all in next to each other.

I was interested to hear that there's a mosque next door to the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst which, like quite a lot of British mosques (or so I imagine), wasn't built as such but uses buildings originally made for something else entirely. Now they'd like to demolish it and build a proper one, but unsurprisingly this isn't going down too well everywhere, even among other Muslims. Taj Hargey writes in The Times:
This mosque will have five domes and two 100ft minarets that will loom over the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Little wonder many people regard it as a provocation — and that’s why I will be at the council meeting opposing its construction.

...elements within the Bengali Welfare Association, which runs the mosque, have aligned themselves to Tablighi Jamaat — a dogmatic, ultra-conservative group whose controversial mega-mosque project close to the 2012 Olympics site in London was recently rebuffed. This new mosque will not be in the interests of all British Muslims as it will allocate less than a fifth of the space to female worshippers. But there is nothing in Islamic theology that legitimises a misogynistic apartheid in the house of God. Nor does the history of Islamic architecture show that mosques must have towering minarets.


There is no Islamic injunction that minarets are intrinsic to mosques. In fact, the first minarets were only constructed decades after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Their main purpose then was to make possible the broadcast of the prayer call from an elevated spire. Today, modern sound technology has rendered this function superfluous. That’s why building two twin minaret towers, so close to a renowned military college, is a provocation.
Frankly I think even the sound technology should be obsolete, itself rendered superfluous by the ability to send calls to prayer by mass SMS. I'm not joking or trivialising Islam here because I really mean it. Modern technology gives the ability to alert large groups wherever they are, even if well out of earshot of a speaker system with the power of a shuttle engine. So why not use it instead of building a structure that's as good as an enormous fuck you V sign to the locals and your neighbours? Like gay groups going to Catholic adoption agencies it seems to suggest deliberately courting controversy for controversy's sake, but there is one major difference which makes it hard for me to oppose the minarets. Presumably the Bengali Welfare Association own the land, and if property rights are to have any meaning at all they really ought to be able to build whatever the fuck they like on it. And if that means a couple of 100 foot towers overlooking the grounds of RMA Sandhurst then so be it. Taj Hargey may claim that Islam obliges its followers to be good neighbours and respect others (I wouldn't know and won't pass comment), and he certainly is being perfectly reasonable about it. But at the end of the day I see this kind of thing almost as a litmus test of my libertarian views, and so in the same way I dislike the views of the BNP while supporting their right to hold them I think constructing the proposed minarets would be stupid, arrogant and rude... but also that it should be allowed.

Of course the flip side of that is that the RMA has what on Google Earth looks very much like a couple of firing ranges on the opposite side of the Academy from the mosque.

View Larger Map

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, so if the Bengali Welfare Association can construct minarets there's no reason why the MOD couldn't have the ranges moved to the south-east and order rifle practice fifteen times a day. It would be stupid, arrogant and rude, but.....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is it okey to pray to a pedophile and a slave owner like "prophet" mohammed?
Watch and read mohammed T-shirt art from Sweden at,

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