The U.S. military removed a Marine from duty today after Iraqi civilians complained that religious material was being distributed at a checkpoint in Fallujah.
“Regulations prohibit members of the coalition force from proselytizing any religion, faith or practices, and our troops are trained on those guidelines before they deploy,” Col. Bill Buckner, a military spokesman, says in a statement e-mailed to USA TODAY.
Commanders say they will take further action if the allegations against this unidentified Marine are substantiated.
"This has our full attention,” Col. James L. Welsh, chief of staff at Multi-National Force-West says in a statement. “We deeply value our relationship with the local citizens and share their concerns over this serious incident.”
McClatchy News reported yesterday that Marines were handing out coins with the following text, which has been translated from Arabic:
Front: "Where will you spend eternity?"
Back: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16."