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The website The Gateway Pundit claims "Military Bans Bibles But Forces Soldiers to Adhere to Ramadan Rules" :

The US Air Force kicked Christian Gideon’s volunteers off base in March.

The Bibles were too offensive and violated the separation of church and state rule.

and then quotes Stars and Stripes:

While not required to fast during Ramadan, in Bahrain, Americans can be fined or detained by local authorities for eating, drinking or smoking in public when off-base during daylight hours.

Navy officials are requiring U.S. personnel to dress more conservatively off-base during Ramadan. Although not a requirement by Bahraini authorities, the Navy is demanding that men wear long-sleeved shirts and women wear sleeved blouses that cover their elbows. Also, men must wear long trousers, and women should wear pants or skirts that cover the knees.

Are these claims true?

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14  
Talk about a non-sequitur... one is US Air Force policy, the other is Bahrain law. I really don't see any contracdiction there. –  nico Jun 29 at 17:52
    
@nico Ah, the devil's always in the details. Still, should this be deleted? –  Cincinnatus Jun 29 at 17:53
    
no, I think the question is OK, was just pointing out that the claim is very badly formulated. –  nico Jun 29 at 18:12
1  
@Nico That's less the fault of the asker and more the fact that thegatewaypundit has something of a cavalier approach to honest reporting... –  Shadur Jun 29 at 20:04
    
@Shadur: that's what I said: the question is OK, the claim by thegatewaypundit is bad. –  nico Jun 29 at 20:10

1 Answer 1

up vote 40 down vote accepted

The original web-site provides references to both claims.

From those references, we can see that the idea that the former claim is inaccurate, but the latter claims are accurate.

It is not that the bibles themselves were too offensive (emphasis mine):

volunteers said they were told by the military that they would no longer be allowed to personally distribute the pocket-sized Bibles to recruits.

[...]

Gaylan Johnson, is a public affairs officer for the Military Entrance Processing Command. He told me the Gideons’ side of the story is “not strictly true.”

They can place their literature within our facility, but they are not allowed to stand there and talk with applicants or hand them (the Bibles) out,” he told me.

Meanwhile, asking personnel to respect those observing Ramadan while in Bahrain, as reported in the Stars and Stripes is consistent with other briefings from the US Navy in previous years:

Non-Muslim service members are asked to avoid Shiite neighborhoods during Ramadan to show respect for the worshipers. It is also asked that no photos be taken of any religious activities during the holy month. [...]

Also, to show respect for the customs and practices of Ramadan, service members are asked not to smoke, eat, drink or chew gum while in the community during fasting hours - either while driving our walking about.

In summary, while guests in Bahrain, people are expected to respect the local customs and laws (e.g. Ramadan), no matter what their personal religious beliefs. While guests in a US military base, people are expected to respect the local customs and laws (e.g. separation of church and state), no matter what their personal religious beliefs.

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