Afghan calls for Bible distribution probe

May 4, 2009 at 4:45 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, May 4 (UPI) -- A former Afghan official says an investigation should be conducted into U.S. soldiers allegedly trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.

Ahmed Shah Ahmedzai, Afghanistan's former prime minister, said footage shot by a U.S. documentary filmmaker showing U.S. military chaplains at Bagram Air Force base discussing how to distribute Pashto language copies of the Bible to Muslims reveals a violation of regulations, Al Jazeera reported Monday.

"This is a complete deviation from what they (the U.S. military) are supposed to be doing," Ahmedzai said. "I don't think even the U.S. Constitution would allow what they are doing … it is completely against all regulations. This is very damaging for diplomatic relations between the two countries."

The footage, which was obtained and broadcast by Al Jazeera, also showed a sermon delivered by Lt. Col. Gary Hensley, chief of U.S. military chaplains in Afghanistan, telling soldiers that, as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility "to be witnesses for him."

"There is no effort to go out and proselytize to Afghans," U.S. Col. Greg Julian told the broadcaster. "Most of this is taken out of context … . This is irresponsible and inappropriate journalism."

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