Saturday, 12 July 2008

A perfect role model for 21st Century Women?

Either that or a sign of our times. Anyhow here is the story of a modern hero (heroine?) from the BBC, Katrina I salute you!

Squaddie makes Miss England final

Katrina Hodge is a part-time model and a soldier in the British Army
A female soldier who once fought off a suspected Iraqi insurgent has won a place in the final of Miss England.
Katrina Hodge, 21, will participate in the contest in July, having already won the Miss Tunbridge Wells crown.
L/Cpl Hodge was nicknamed Combat Barbie in 2005 after being given a bravery commendation for saving the lives of members of her regiment in Iraq.
They were held at gunpoint when their vehicle overturned but L/Cpl Hodge punched the gunman and took his rifles.
She said: "I was in complete shock at first. The force of the accident caused our vehicle to roll over three times and threw us off guard.
"As I came round, the Iraqi suspect was standing over us with the rifles. I knew if I didn't act fast then our lives would be in danger.
"I punched him and the force startled him enough for me to retrieve the rifles from him."
Miss Hodge, a military clerk with The Adjutant General's Corps, will go on to appear at Miss World 2008 if she wins the English title.
"I was delighted to have been selected for the Miss England final and it is a great honour," she added.
"Being a part-time model and a serving soldier is certainly a world apart. I want to use this competition to highlight the work that the Army are doing and what they have done for this country."
She is currently serving at Frimley Park Hospital in Camberley and will take part in the Miss England national finals on Friday.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Iraqi Christians continue to suffer 'religious persecution'

Iraq's beleaguered Christian minority continue to suffer whilst the west does nothing. At the very least we could offer them asylum, instead of giving it to Iraqi AL Qaeda members who then try to blow up Glasgow airport. From Catholic online:

Iraqi Christians Under Attack says Pew Report
Chaldean.Org (
Iraqi Christians have been in Iraq since the time of Christ.The majority of them are Chaldean Catholics.They are our brethren.

BAGHDAD, IRAQ ( - Senior research fellow, Brian J. Grim, paints a harrowing picture of the ongoing persecution of Iraqi Christians. The research expert on religion and world affairs with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in Washington, D.C. reports that the situation for Christians in Iraq is worsening. “It is no small irony, of course, that the Shiite majority that's now a leading force in Iraq was brutalized and suppressed under Saddam, who extensively curbed the Shiites' religious freedoms. A State Department report in 2002 said Saddam's government ‘severely restricts or bans outright many Shiite religious practices.’ One might think that those fresh memories would be enough to ensure liberties for Iraq's religious minorities today. Yet that appears not to be the case,” writes Grim in his report. Iraqi Christians are part of historic indigenous communities that have been in what is now Iraq nearly since the time of Christ, several centuries before Islam came to the region. The majority of them are Chaldean Christians, an ancient religious group affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Grim points out what's particularly devastating for Iraq's religious minorities is the lack of clear legal protections for religious freedom. Although Article 2 of the Iraqi Constitution guarantees religious freedom, it also contains what some have termed a "repugnancy clause," which states, "No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established." Because the clause does not explicitly state what the "established provisions of Islam" encompass or exclude, this opens the door for the state and the courts to become theological arbiters. As such, there are no formal avenues for religious minorities to participate in the process. Furthermore, Article 89 of the constitution stipulates that the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court include experts in Islamic jurisprudence, which means that the provision in Article 2 will be supported by a court system with people specifically employed to interpret Islamic law. These people can be appointed without having civil law training. The nature and extent of the violations of religious freedom were not only severe, they also were tolerated by the government and, in some cases, committed by forces within the government. As such, a bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom included Iraq on a "watch list" of countries where religious liberty is severely threatened. Religious leaders have made numerous attempts to broker resolutions. In 2007, American president George W. Bush recounted, the pontiff " was concerned that the society that was evolving (in Iraq) would not tolerate the Christian religion." Indeed, Iraqi Christians have continued to find themselves in the cross hairs of faith-inspired violence. The worst episodes have occurred in regions with diverse ethnic and religious groups, such as Baghdad and Mosul, where the majority of Iraq's Christians live. The State Department reported last year that Muslim extremists "warned Christians living in Baghdad's Dora district to convert, leave or be killed." Commission representatives recently visited Iraq. Among other things, they are assessing whether religious freedom is threatened due to possible collusion between Shiite militias and Iraqi government ministries, and whether the country's smallest religious minorities are being marginalized by government officials and parastate militias. If Iraqi government's culpability in violations of religious freedom continues, Iraq would join the likes of Burma, Iran, North Korea and Sudan. The political and social consequences of this oppression will need to be addressed by the new U.S. administration, whichever party wins the White House in November. An Iraq that truly honors and protects religious freedom would be a benchmark of success that all Americans — and no doubt both parties — would applaud.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Bin Laden's Son calls for Britains Destruction

No not the son I reported on earlier. This guy is Hamza Bin laden. Why am I posting this? I posted earlier about the attempts this chap's half brother to enter the UK and live with his British wife. This post sheds some further light on this family and it is notable how his message for the UK is couched in Islamic religious terms. Oh hang on it's all to do with our foreign policy again of course! From the Evening Standard:

Osama Bin Laden's 16-year-old son calls for Britain's 'destruction' in new terror video Last updated at 12:18pm on 09.07.08
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Hamza Bin Laden, q6, appears in a terror video calling for infidels to be destroyed
As the world's most wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden often used internet broadcasts exhorting his followers to continue their battle against the infidel West.
Now the 16-year-old son of the Al Qaeda leader appears to be following in his father’s footsteps in a chilling new internet film which shows him calling for the ‘destruction’ of Britain.
Dressed in a military camouflaged waistcoat over traditional Afghan dress Hamza Bin Laden, the youngest of the Al Qaeda chief’s 18 sons, recites a poem he has written.
The video begins with a short introduction that says: ‘We now offer you a new poem by Sheikh Hamza Bin Laden, may God protect him.’
Clutching his AK47 rifle Bin Laden begins by calling for the destruction of Britain.
'Accelerate the destruction of America, Britain, France and Denmark, ' he says.
The poem continues: ‘Oh God, reward the fighters hitting the infidels and defectors.'
‘Oh God, guide the youth of the Islamic nation and let them assist with the fighters' plans.’
‘God, be pleased with those who want to go for jihad – and blind those who are watching and want to capture them.
‘Grant victory to the Taliban over the gangs of infidels.’
Tory MP Patrick Mercer said of the reading: 'The sins of the father are being visited upon the son. We now have the Crown Prince of Terror taking up his father’s mantle.'
The release of the video appears to have been timed to mark the third anniversary of the July 7th bombings in London.
Last November, just a month before she was assassinated, Pakistan's former prime minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto said that Hamza Bin Laden was one of a number of warlords who intended to kill her.
In an interview for Al Jazeera, Bhutto said that her killers would come from either ‘a gang from the Afghanistan warlord Baitullah Mehsud, or Hamza bin Laden the son of Osama bin Laden, or the Pakistani Taliban in Islamabad, or by a group in Karachi."