Jesus scopesMuslim groups reacted angrily to the news that so-called “Jesus scopes” were being used by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. The story, first reported by ABC News, noted that Michigan-based contractor Trijicon had sold up to 800,000 of the sights, which have coded Bibilical references, to the U.S. military.

A Trijicon spokesman said the practice began under its founder, Glyn Bindon, who was a devout Christian from South Africa. He was killed in a 2003 plane crash, ironically between Gunsight Mountain and Sheep Mountain in Alaska.

Upon hearing the news, Michael Weinstein, Founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation said: “It’s wrong, it violates the Constitution, it violates a number of federal laws. It allows the Mujahedeen, the Taliban, al Qaeda and the insurrectionists and jihadists to claim they’re being shot by Jesus rifles.” The MRFF is an advocacy group that seeks to ensure the separation of church and state in the military.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) called for U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to immediately withdraw from combat any equipment found to have inscriptions of Biblical references. MPAC Director Haris Tarin said in a statement, “Having Biblical references on military equipment violates the basic ideals and values our country was founded upon. Worse still, it provides propaganda ammo to extremists who claim there is a ‘Crusader war against Islam’ by the United States.”

At least two other countries that buy scopes from Trijicon are reconsidering those purchases. First, in the U.K., a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence told the BBC that the ministry was contacting Trijicon, had been unaware of the markings at time of purchase, and realized that the markings might be considered offensive. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Defence Force told the New Zealand newspaper The Press that the Biblical quotes were “inappropriate” and would be removed. New Zealand will also ask Trijicon to remove the code from future shipments.

It is also true that the U.S. military has in place a non-proselytizing rule, to prevent providing the Taliban, al Qaeda and others such fuel for their insurgency. It is, howver, ironic, that scopes of this nature could provide ammo for our enemies.

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Originally on SNAFU-ed