Chaplain Bans Quran Distribution in Afghanistan
Qurans will only be distributed to US Servicemembers who are Muslim as indicated on their identification tags…Exceptions…will be granted if the Service Member has a memorandum signed by his Commander that states the reason for obtaining a Quran provided by the chaplain.
Qurans will not be placed in general literature distribution racks. They will be kept in a secure location…
The memo is signed by US Army Chaplain (LTC) Eric Albertson, a Catholic priest with a long military history that includes a Purple Heart. He specifically notes it is relevant only to RC(E), which refers to a military regional command of Afghanistan (over which he is presumably the Command Chaplain). USAF Chaplain Jon Trainer commented on the article emphasizing it was not USFOR-A guidance (that is, coming from the US leadership in Afghanistan).
While it may seem moot to some (what non-Muslim wants a Quran anyway?), it is actually not unusual for servicemembers to explore other religious beliefs — or even convert (to Islam) — while deployed. Arguably, given the cultural importance of Islam in the region, members of the military might actually benefit from reading the Koran.
Blackfive accurately notes the overrestrictive irony: Those same service members can get a Quran from anywhere else, just not chaplains:
Can you order one up from Barnes & Noble? Sure. You just can’t get one from the chaplain.
Perennial critic of Christian religious freedom, Michael Weinstein, has predictably remained silent on this uniquely restrictive order on religious freedom.