[News] Bible codes in Afghan army guns

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 21 17:34:46 EST 2010

You can't make this stuff up!

Bible codes in Afghan army guns

Thursday, January 21, 2010
18:42 Mecca time, 15:42 GMT

American guns inscribed with Bible codes are being used by US forces 
and Afghans to fight the Taliban.

Al Jazeera has discovered that some Afghan soldiers are using guns 
engraved with coded biblical references.

The weapons come from Trijicon, a manufacturer based in Wixon, 
Michigan, that supplies the US military. The company's now deceased 
founder, Glyn Bandon, started the practice which continues today.

David Chater, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the Afghan capital Kabul, 
said: "It is a rallying cry for the Taliban. It gives them a propaganda tool.

"They've always tried to paint the US efforts in Afghanistan as a 
Christian campaign."

A Nato spokesman in Afghanistan has acknowledged that the practice is 
inappropriate but said that the guns will remain in use for now.

Nato reaction

Interviewed by Al Jazeera on Thursday, Colonel Gregory Breazile, of 
the Nato Training Command in Afghanistan, said: "We were told about 
it last night and when we looked into it, we noticed it was true.

"We started to take action and notify both the ministry of defence 
and our chain of command and they have all taken action so that we 
don't purchase any more of these sights.

"We gave the Afghan military these weapons. We are very disappointed, 
but it's a tiny little inscription and very hard to notice and I 
don't think it will be an issue in the field."

Acknowledging the mistake, Breazile said: "We would have not bought 
these sights had we known they had these inscriptions on them."

No complaints

Trijicon says that it has manufactured weapons sights with biblical 
inscriptions for three decades and never before received a complaint.

Officials from Trijicon also said that the US military had been a 
customer since 1995.

The inscriptions, which do not include actual text from the Bible, 
refer numerically to passages from the book.


The inscriptions do not include actual text from the Bible but refer 
numerically to passages

The Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight rifle sights, used by New 
Zealand troops, carried references to Bible verses that appeared in 
raised lettering at the end of the sight stock number.

Markings included "JN8:12", a reference to John 8:12: "Then spake 
Jesus again unto them, saying, 'I am the light of the world: he that 
followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of 
life," according to the King James version of the Bible.

The Trijicon Reflex sight is stamped with 2COR4:6, a reference to 
part of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians: "For God, who 
commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our 
hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the 
face of Jesus Christ," the King James version reads.

Tom Munson, Trijicon's sales director, said: "We don't publicise this.

"It's not something we make a big deal out of. But when asked, we 
say, 'Yes, it's there'."

US contracts

The US Marine Corps was said by ABC News, which broke the news of the 
inscriptions, to have a $660 million contract over multiple years 
with Trijicon to make 800,000 units of the product.

Trijicon has other contracts to supply the US army with the sights.

The sights are used on weapons used during the training of Afghan and 
Iraqi soldiers under contracts with the US army and Marine Corps.

The Marines Corps have said that they will meet Trijicon managers to 
discuss future deals.

"If determined to be true, this is clearly inappropriate and we are 
looking into possible remedies," Commander Darryn James, a Pentagon 
spokesman, told the AFP news agency.

Meanwhile, the US-based Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has 
called on Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, to immediately 
withdraw the equipment from combat.

"Having biblical references on military equipment violates the basic 
ideals and values our country was founded upon," Haris Tarin, MPAC 
Washington director, said in a statement.

"Worse still, it provides propaganda ammo to extremists who claim 
there is a 'Crusader war against Islam' by the United States."

US military forces have repeatedly stated that their missions in 
Afghanistan and Iraq are secular and they have a ban on proselytizing.

Other countries

Separately, New Zealand has instructed Trijicon to remove the 
citations from future orders of the weapon sights.

"The inscriptions ... put us in a difficult situation," Kristian 
Dunne, a New Zealand defence force spokesman, said.

"We were unaware of it and we're unhappy that the manufacturer didn't 
give us any indication that these were on there."

Dunne said that New Zealand has 260 such sights, first bought in 
2004, which will continue to be used once the codes are removed as 
they are the best quality available.

Wayne Mapp, New Zealand's defence minister, said: "We all know of the 
religious tensions around this issue and it's unwise to do anything 
that could be seen to raise tensions in an unnecessary way."

The British defence ministry said it had placed an order for 400 of 
the gun sights but said it had not been aware of the significance of 
the inscriptions.

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