Blasphemy Bear III (This time it’s personal)
November 29, 2007
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]
Good grief, so someone is actually going to argue that she incited hatred amongst the children in her class, by naming a teddy bear Mohammad at the behest of the children she’s supposedly inciting? Has the whole world gone mad or does logic just just no longer apply?
The poor woman must be utterly bewildered and terrified.
“It is now a police case and the temptation to treat it as a media sensation should be resisted. We certainly do not wish to resort to ‘trial by media’.
Oh of course not – but trial by ridiculous religious dogma and oversensitivity is fine.
On a more encouraging note, a voice of reason from British Muslims:
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said in a statement released in London: “This is a disgraceful decision and defies common sense.
I think that it is very encouraging to see one part of a religion call out another for being nuts, and that moderate religion should address these issues more. Some of the regular people in Sudan seem to be relatively understanding about the incident:
Shopkeeper Sabir Abdel Karim said that if Gibbons had not intended to insult Islam, an apology to Muslims would be enough to end the problem.
“Any one can make a mistake and Muslims are forgivers. She will be forgiven and God will be the judge.”
I would certainly argue that the base assumption that she has done something wrong at all would be considered suspect by most rational people, but if you take that as a given, at least they can see that it was obviously an innocent cultural mistake (though why that would require an apology to all Muslims is a little beyond me). Not everyone is so understandging though:
“She is a teacher and should be teaching her pupils to be respectful and have morals but instead she is doing the opposite,” said Mohamed Toum, a law student.
Sigh. I’ll say it again. And this time I’ll say it really s-l-o-w-l-y.
It. Is. A. Fucking. Teddy. Bear. Period. Are. You. Completely. Fucking. Insane. Question mark. Exclamation point.