Iraqis say Marines handed out Christian coins
BAGHDAD (AP) — The U.S. military says an American service member has been removed from duty in Iraq after receiving complaints that Marines were handing out coin-shaped medals promoting Christianity.
Sunni officials in the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah say the coins were given to Iraqis at an entry checkpoint and had biblical verses written on them in Arabic.
McClatchy Newspapers, which first broke the story, reports that the silver-colored medal quoted John 3:16 on one side and asked “Where will you spend eternity” on the other.
A military statement says the service member was removed from his duties Friday “amid concerns from Fallujah’s citizens regarding reports of inappropriate conduct.”
The statement says U.S. troops are prohibited “from proselytizing any religion, faith or practices” and the military is investigating the reports.
The military promises appropriate action if they are substantiated.