I am sure I not alone in my simmering impotent rage at the abduction of 15 Royal Navy and Royal Marine personnel by Iranian forces. Of course Iran has form on this issue. My rage has been exacerbated by the parading of our sailors and marines on Iranian TV (especially by the interview of a female sailor, Leading Seaman Faye Turney in a headscarf).
What is to be done? Clearly backing down is not an option. What has become clear is that militant Islam in whatever guise responds to appeasement only by making more demands. The modern exemplar of Islamic terror (albeit Sunni rather than Shia), Osama Bin Laden, puts it succinctly:
“When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.”
My heart went out to the tars and their families when I saw them on the news last night. Both grandfathers and two uncles served in the senior service and I am the first generation (like many families) that have not had a member in the forces. Some opinion has been harsh about the name, rank and serial number issue – I am not sure what I would do in the same situation: I hope I would keep my mouth shut. Parading these servicemen in public is disgusting but no more than one would expect. The Iranians would do well to recall it was the British SAS that relieved the terrorist seige of their embassy. Ingrates.
What can we do personally? I would suggest two things. The first is to ensure that British opinion (and indeed opinion beyond these shores) is firmly against Iran and that Iran knows this. I have today sent the following letter to the Iranian Ambassador in London:
HE Rasoul Movahedian
Embassy of the Islamic
16 Prince´s Gate
London SW7 1PT
29th March 2007
Re: The illegal abduction of 15 Royal Navy and Royal Marine personnel
I write to express my utter disgust at the illegal, immoral and unjustifiable actions of Iranian forces in abducting British service personnel in the
Shatt Al Arab waters. Further I write to express my contempt for the actions of the Iranian military which in contravention of the Geneva Conventions and indeed all civilised standards of behaviour deserve condemnation, namely:
- Threatening to try soldiers in uniform for espionage
- Interrogation of captured soldiers
- Public display of captured soldiers
Furthermore, there are points relating to the treatment of the only woman illegally held captive:
- Leading Seaman Faye Turney has been forced to wear a humiliating Islamic veil in contravention of the rights of captured service personnel to wear regulation issue uniform: your insistence on the wearing of the veil is an offence against Western sensitivity– clearly not something your government is capable of understanding.
- The letter she has been instructed to write has clearly been coerced from her. You can have very little idea in doing this how offensive this action is to British sentiment.
I would urge you to transmit to your government the strength of feeling against
Iran on this matter. We are not in the habit in this country of the kind of manufactured rage common in Islamic cultures. Please be aware however that there is a simmering anger in British patriotic feeling at the moment and as history show, you would do well to take heed and back down.
You can email the Iranian Ambassador at this address:
The other weapon in our armoury is spiritual. The rosary was instrumental in the defeat of Islam at Lepanto and Vienna. Blessed Marco D’Aviano urged the Christian forces at Vienna to fast and pray. Offer up your Friday penance tomorrow for our servicemen: fast and pray the rosary for their return and the defeat of militant Islam.