New York: An American company has agreed to remove biblical references from the gun sights it was providing to the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan after protest by Muslim groups and said it would provide kits to remove the inscriptions.
The American news network, ABC, first broke the story that Trijicon was inscribing their guns with biblical references such as "2COR4:6", which is an apparent reference to Second Corinthians 4:6 of the New Testament that reads: "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."
Another reference is John 8:12, which cited as JN8:12, which reads, "Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
The Muslim community in the US reacted angrily to this but Army and the Marine Corps both said their services did not know about the biblical markings and would take appropriate action to address the situation. The Marine Corps has more than 200,000 Trijicon sights and the army has approximately 100,000.
The guns are used by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US Army prohibits proselytising of any religion in Iraq and Afghanistan. The maker of the sights, Trijicon, has a USD 660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps.
"It allows the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, al Qaeda and the insurrectionists and jihadists to claim they're being shot by Jesus rifles," Michael Weinstein of the, Military Religious
Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group, told ABC news.
"It's literally pushing fundamentalist Christianity at the point of a gun against the people that we're fighting. We're emboldening an enemy," he added. Earlier, the company confirmed the use of biblical codes and its spokesperson, Tom Munson, told ABC News that the inscriptions "have always been there" and there was nothing illegal about it.
"We believe that America is great when its people are good," says the website of the company. "This goodness has been based on Biblical standards throughout our history, and we will strive to follow those morals."
Britain and New Zealand have also announced their concern about using guns made by Trijicon with biblical markings and are re-examining their contracts.
First Published: Friday, January 22, 2010, 10:21