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Fake mosque on Canadian Forces base in Alberta raises concerns for Muslim community

Halifax Tar

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As Mahmoud Mourra was out hunting on the prairie in southern Alberta, he came across a familiar sight in an unfamiliar location: the dome of a mosque, replete with minaret and crescent symbol.

Only the mosque was not real. It was part of a training facility at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Suffield, about 250 kilometres southeast of Calgary.

Canadian Forces officials say such training facilities need to be as real as possible to simulate the types of environments that soldiers might see on tour. But for Mourra, who has made a life in Canada since immigrating from Lebanon decades ago, seeing the structure felt like a betrayal.

More on the link:

 

The Bread Guy

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Blackadder1916

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Btw, wtf is he hunting on the open prairie in December?


CFB Suffield Elk Hunt​

Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), in partnership with Canada's Department of National Defence, has provided elk hunting opportunities at Canadian Forces Base Suffield (CFB Suffield) in southeastern Alberta.
  • Hunts surrounding the base for the 2021-22 seasons began on September 1, 2021, and will continue until January 30, 2022.
    • 100 antlered elk licences will be issued.
    • 200 antlerless elk licences will be issued.
  • Hunts within the base will begin on October 27, 2021 and will continue until January 30, 2022.
    • 120 antlered elk licences will be issued.
    • 580 antlerless elk licences will be issued.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Islam is not big on hunting, it accepts that is is done, but most of the devout I have met don't believe in it as the animal does not die in a Halal method. There is a thing about what type of hoof animal you can consume, but I can't recall it on one cup of coffee.
 

Blackadder1916

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Islam is not big on hunting, it accepts that is is done, but most of the devout . . .

That, of course, assumes that the hunter is "devout". Perhaps he is like me, who still identifies as an Irish Catholic (Nfld variant) but that is a cultural definition vice a religious one. I'm quick to point out that being "an Irish Catholic (Nfld variant)" makes one more likely to be an atheist or agnostic or at the very least, non-practicing. Based on my limited acquaintances/friendships with other Albertans of Lebanese origin/heritage, they are just as likely to be pickup truck driving, gun-toting rednecks as their nominally Christian neighbours.
 

winds_13

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How are we supposed to practice the protection of protected entities if they are not included in our training mockups? Just because the person in the article thought that recognition of a mosque compared to the surrounding buildings was "kindergarten" stuff perhaps does not realize how rare mosques actually are across the country, outside of major urban centres.

We also employ actors to play civilians on training exercises, just because something is in the training area doesn't mean we treat it as a target. It's not as if it was part of a range and the building had been blown to pieces.
 

CBH99

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How are we supposed to practice the protection of protected entities if they are not included in our training mockups? Just because the person in the article thought that recognition of a mosque compared to the surrounding buildings was "kindergarten" stuff perhaps does not realize how rare mosques actually are across the country, outside of major urban centres.

We also employ actors to play civilians on training exercises, just because something is in the training area doesn't mean we treat it as a target. It's not as if it was part of a range and the building had been blown to pieces.
So this super offended random guy wondering around a military base (ironically enough to shoot things in the face) is feeling betrayed to find a fake mosque, in a fake town, in a military training area.

And as my girlfriend pointed out when I read her the article over our morning coffee & chit chat…she asked “So instead of just calling the base to ask about it, he went to the CBC and tries to cause a fuss?”

- Mosques are quite rare across the country. Training troops to recognize what one looks like, in a mock-up town we try to build as realistic as possible, is important.

- Did he ever consider that perhaps our troops need to know what it looks like so that IF they are engaged from a mosque, they don’t return fire and can extract themselves? And can practice tactics for extracting themselves without engaging a building that can’t be touched if the ROE say so?

- Did he ever consider that perhaps in a volatile theatre, our troops may need to quickly reach a mosque in order to protect the people inside? Or extract them to safety?

- If on foot patrol near a mosque, are there any customs or protocols that our troops should be familiar with so as to not offend the locals and be respectful?

Are there any customs or protocols that could potentially be mistaken for aggressive, that they should be aware of so as to not misinterpret something?


Perhaps CBC could change the title to “Man Shooting Elk Stumbles Across Fake Mosque in Fake Town in Military Training Area. Instead of Contacting Base or Asking Questions, He Goes National About His Initial Feelings.”

He shouldn’t feel betrayed. But perhaps he should feel dumb, if no other reason he skipped a few steps before going national with his own ignorance… 🤦🏼‍♂️



Great job again CBC. Any dirt to throw at the military, and you’re right on top of it…
 

The Bread Guy

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Interesting the difference between the soldier's response ....
... CFB Suffield base commander Lt.-Col. Stephen Burke said the structure is part of a simulated village built in 2006 used exclusively by British forces. It is in a "dry" training area — meaning no live ammunition is used in the vicinity.

"People would obviously still be carrying weapons, still doing military training, but there was no shooting at it," he said.

"And as a matter of fact, that's the kind of thing we're actively training to prevent."
(...)
Burke said up until about a decade ago, simulated buildings were used across Canada in Afghanistan-like scenarios. He said training has since shifted to a more ad-hoc basis, using sea-can containers as temporary structures during exercises.

"Take it out of context and this stuff is shocking," Burke said.

But "high-fidelity environments," that is, facilities that look real, have an important role to play in training, according to the base commander ...
... and the Minister's
... Daniel Minden, press secretary for Defence Minister Anita Anand, said their office was aware of the structure.

"There must be no room for Islamophobia, systemic racism, or religious bigotry in Canada, and we will always condemn it in the strongest possible terms," he said in an emailed statement.

"Minister Anand believes that affected communities must be consulted to ensure respect and sensitivity at all times." ...
 

Good2Golf

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So was this guy trespassing on DND property with a loaded weapon?
 
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