The continuing adventures of Blasphemy Bear
November 28, 2007
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.
Sadeq said this was particularly so after the school had apologised to the parents, pupils and the Sudanese for the teacher’s “unacceptable conduct”.
I’ve noticed that all of the arguments in her defense seem to be based on lack of intent. That it is just accepted as a given that the teacher’s actions in naming a teddy bear might constitute “unacceptable conduct” boggles the mind (or at least my mind).
Gibbons, who teaches at the private Unity high school in Khartoum, was arrested on Sunday after a pupil’s parents complained, about her naming a teddy bear Muhammad. Although a common name among Muslim men, connecting the prophet’s name to an animal would be seen as insulting by many Muslims.
Firstly, it’s a teddy bear. How is that insulting?
Secondly, why? Does their religion own the name or something? I’m sure there were a whole bunch of Muhammads before the alleged birth and revelation of their prophet, and there have been a whole lot of Muhammads since. Were they all named for the prophet? Even the ones from before the prophet was born?
Surely it can only be (allegedly) insulting if the use of the name was an actual reference to the prophet? I mean, if you say, “Hey! Muhammad is a poo poo head with stinky feet and bony girl arms!” then are you automatically insulting Muhammad (the holy prophet of Islam) who is revered by millions, or are you insulting Muhammad (the idiot down the street with bird droppings on his head, odoriferous feet and unusually thin and shapely arms) who keeps borrowing your power tools and not returning them?
And really, who cares? Is the transcendentally holy prophet of the One True Religion™ so thin skinned that he demands earthly satisfaction when people (who supposedly get punished after they die anyway) diss him in front of his friends?