Sudan: Officials seize a British teacher’s approval of students ‘Muhammad’ teddy bear to play the culture card
This Week’s Top Scrooge - November 30, 2007
I suppose there are worse atrocities in the world.
Sure, the Sudanese government’s imprisonment of a kindly-looking teacher for the “hate crime” of allowing her students to name a teddy bear Muhammad may not seem like a big deal to some.
After all, her sentence is only 15 days (five of which she has already served) and the maximum 6-month sentence and 40 lashes were not dished out by the Sudanese judge. I guess to prison veterans (and Muslim jailers), this is just a walk in the park. But for a teacher?
In finding that British primary school teacher, Gillian Gibbons, is guilty of insulting Islam by allowing her seven-year-old pupils to name a teddy bear Muhammad, Sudanese officials have deliberately assaulted reason.
The Sudanese leaders have attempted to use Gibbons and Teddy ‘Muhammad’ Bear to call the rest of the non-Muslim world ignorant for not bowing to them. They are saying that all of us must walk on egg shells, careful to not accidently be offensive or we will be lashed, imprisoned, or killed.
Yet, they themselves have been most offensive in chucking a stuffed toy back in our face. And sadly, even the “inciting hatred” part of the criminal code is more reflective of what the Sudanese officials did with their behavior…not of Gibbons and her students’ teddy bear named Muhammad.
Perhaps indicative as to what great lengths some will go to call the rest of us ignorant, a Sudanese official gave one of the worst spin jobs in international history.
Khalid al-Mubarak played the “culture card” like this:
“We don’t have any teddy bears over here, so in Sudan, for us, it is a fierce and dangerous animal,” Khalid al-Mubarak, a spokesman for the Sudanese Embassy in London, told the BBC. “The cultural background is very different. That is a very important point.”
Apparently it’s important enough to some Muslims, that Gibbons, 54, of Liverpool, now sits in a jail, guilty of “insulting religion” after an eight-hour hearing in Khartoum north court.
First reports stated that Gibbons was outed by disgruntled parents. Now it turns out that complaints about naming the teddy bear Muhammad had come from a fellow member of the staff at the exclusive Unity High School where Gibbons was working. The complainant was named as Sara Khawad, an office assistant at the school, who was the key prosecution witness.
So, Sara, you can join the Sudanese officials in receiving This Week’s Top Scrooge dis-honor. Apparently you are waging a War on Reason as well.
Yes, I suppose there are worse atrocities in the world.
However, knowing that in the year 2007, man is still capable of such ignorance and lack of compassion is more than a bit disheartening.
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