The Shofar is the ancient trumpet which called the people of God to prayer, repentance, sacrifice and war.


Immediate 17.30 hrs Thursday 29th March 2007

The Royal Navy's decision to put a young mother at risk was condemned as 'irresponsible' tonight by a Christian prayer group a day after the woman in question, Faye Turney, was paraded on Iranian television and had an interview which was recorded hours before her capture published in a daily newspaper.

Mrs Turney, a Leading Seaman, was captured by Iranian forces last Friday along with 14 sailors from HMS Cornwall after boarding a vessel in the Shatt Al-Arab waterway.

Last night she was pictured clad in a Muslim head-dress and smoking a cigarette before speaking on camera. Despite UK Government insistence that the sailors had been on the Iraqi side, Mrs Turney was shown confessing to being in Iranian waters, raising concerns that some kind of pressure had been applied to her. She was the only one of the sailors who was broadcast and the only woman amongst those seized.

Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said tonight:

'It seems beyond doubt that psychological pressure has been brought to bear against Mrs Turney, possibly by playing on her natural motherly desire to return to her three-year-old daughter. The Iranians must have read the article in Wednesday's Independent and even if they had not already discovered Mrs Turney's maternal status in questioning, they would not be slow in using that to their purpose.'

In the article, Mrs Turney, 26, admits she is missing seeing her little girl grow up. Journalist Terri Judd said, 'When I encountered her on the deck on HMS Cornwall, the first subject she talked about was Molly - a theme she returned to often during our numerous conversations.'

Mrs Turney spoke of the excitement of piloting the Navy's inflatable speedboats and of the possible dangers of the mission. 'But it was Molly, her three-year-old daughter, that she spoke of most,' wrote Terri Judd. 'She described the guilt of leaving behind her "bubbly, head-strong" little girl to be looked after by her husband Adam, also serving in the Navy but based in Plymouth . But she believed emphatically that this sacrifice would give her daughter every opportunity in life.'

Stephen Green continued:

'Mrs Turney's husband is a Petty Officer, the naval equivalent of a sergeant. It is certain that he has work to do in Plymouth , so the reality is that Molly is in some kind of day-care. Although I realise that the Government has ensured through the crippling burden of taxation that all but the best-off families now need two incomes to survive, even the wages of a leading seaman cannot possibly compensate for the lack of a mother's day-to-day love, care and sheer presence in a child's life.

'A more civilised age would also set more value on Mrs Turney's duty to be at her husband's side in his demanding job. When the Bible speaks of Eve as a 'help meet' for Adam it gives recognition not just to a deep human need but to the reality of a healthy male-female relationship.

'As for the Admiralty, their conduct in placing a woman, let alone a young mother, in such danger is as irresponsible as it is politically correct. They have put the mother of a three-year-old at risk, and on top of that have allowed her to be captured by Muslim men who are known to hold women in utter contempt.

'It isn't clever, it isn't modern, it isn't liberated for this country's menfolk to expect our women to fight for us, it is barbaric and an insult to the next generation for whom they should be caring. I am ashamed to be part of a nation which separates young mothers from their children and exposes them to harm in battle all to appease the god of equality.

I am praying for the sailors' release, and especially for Mrs Turney to be reunited with her husband and her daughter. I shall also pray the Navy ensures she does not leave her daughter again, and that other young mothers in the Navy - and it would be interesting to know how many there are - will be brought home. May God have mercy on us for exposing our women to such danger and for abandoning a generation of infants to the vagaries of childcare.'