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WASHINGTON (AFP) – Muslim groups reacted angrily after it emerged that the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan were using rifle sights inscribed with coded Biblical references.

The company producing the sights, which are also used to train Afghan and Iraqi soldiers under contracts with the US Army and the Marine Corps, said it has inscribed references to the New Testament on the metal casings for over two decades.

The British Ministry of Defense meanwhile announced it had placed an order for 400 of the gunsights with Trijicon but added it had not been aware of the significance of the inscriptions, in a decision criticized by the opposition Liberal Democrat party.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) called on US Defense Secretary Robert Gates to immediately withdraw from combat use equipment found to have inscriptions of Biblical references after it emerged that Trijicon has contracts to supply over 800,000 of the sights to the US military.

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