Blasphemy Bear: Coda

November 30, 2007

Yesterday we heard that the nasty teddy bear naming British teacher had been charged with “insulting Islam” and “inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious belief”. Now we have what looks like the closing chapters of this sad and frightening story:

A British teacher accused of insulting Muslims after her class called a teddy bear Mohammad will be deported after spending 15 days in jail, a defence lawyer says.

Gillian Gibbons, 54, “was found guilty of insulting religion and the sentence is 15 days (in jail) and deportation,” defence lawyer Ali Ajib said after the trial in a Khartoum courtroom, which lasted less than a day.

I’m not entirely sure whether to be glad she appears to have gotten off so lightly (depending on the conditions of her imprisonment) or be utterly enraged that she is being punished at all.

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The baffling story of the Blasphemous Teddy bear has already reeled from stupid to bizarre. It now appears to have smacked it’s head on a table and fallen over the edge:

KHARTOUM, Nov 28 (Reuters) – A British teacher detained in Sudan after her class called a teddy bear Mohammad was charged on Wednesday with insulting Islam in a move that sparked a diplomatic row between London and Khartoum.Gillian Gibbons, 54, was also charged with inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs, Sudanese official media said. If convicted, she could face 40 lashes, a fine, or one year in jail.

They’ve actually charged her with inciting hatred? [Hmm…I’m pinching myself, but I appear to be wide awake…interesting]

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More news on the Sudanese War On Blasphemy:

The Sudanese foreign ministry today downplayed the significance of a British teacher facing blasphemy charges for supposedly insulting Islam.

In the first official comment on the case that threatens to become a diplomatic row, a foreign ministry spokesman, Ali al-Sadeq, said the case of a “teacher’s misconduct against the Islamic faith” should not have provoked a British government caution to its citizens in Sudan.

I would think that when a foreign government detains a British citizen for reasons that most reasonable citizens of the country would consider to be barking mad, then the government is probably being quite responsible in warning its citizens to be a little bit careful.

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Negative search hits

November 28, 2007

Not too long ago I took part in the #1 on Google meme where I had to find terms that returned this blog as the first result on a Google search. After trying a few out, I noticed a tendency to get hits from negative searches (or rather searches referring to the exact opposite opinions expressed in this blog).

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You have got to be kidding me:

Blasphemous teddy bear

A British primary school teacher has been arrested in Sudan, accused of insulting Islam’s Prophet by letting her class of 7-year-olds name a teddy bear Mohammed, her school said yesterday.
Police arrested Gillian Gibbons, 54 of Liverpool, on Sunday at her home inside the Unity High School premises after a number of parents complained to Sudan’s Ministry of Education, said Unity director Robert Boulos.

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The Way of Yahweh

November 27, 2007

George Hrab has crossed swords with The Way Of the Master (the scary ministry of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron) with a parody of their ass backwards Atheist’s Nightmare argument, where he and Soccergirl argue for the sexual utility of the male and female forms as proof of god. Brilliant.

The parody can be found on episode #41 of the Geologic Podcast (around the 11 minute mark) and on episode #246 of Soccergirl, Incorporated (around 20:45).

Fair warning though, it’s very NSFW.

My friend Paul has pointed out yet another story for anyone who thinks that traditional beliefs and religion are necessarily a positive:

A 14-year-old New Zealand girl nearly lost her eyesight when her eyes were gouged by relatives in a Maori exorcism ceremony in which her cousin died, a report said Monday.

The girl is recovering after emergency operations on her eyes to save her sight after relatives scratched at her eyes to remove the devil, the Dominion Post newspaper said, quoting unnamed sources.
The girl’s cousin, 22-year-old Janet Moses, drowned during the October 12 ceremony, which reportedly left the house ankle deep in water.

The ceremony was reportedly held to remove a Maori curse after Moses’ sister stole a stone lion from outside a hotel.

That is deeply messed up.

Do I have to say the obvious? Families (whatever their makeup) exist to protect their children and each other. Any belief system that results in this kind of outcome is not only morally bankrupt but criminally culpable for suborning this despicable abuse of power and trust.