Blasphemy Bear III (This time it’s personal)

November 29, 2007

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]

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.


8 Responses to “Blasphemy Bear III (This time it’s personal)

  1. mopenshaw Says:

    And one kid in the class says he came up with the name, because it is the SAME AS HIS OWN!

    A fellow blogger bought a new chew toy for his dog and named it Muhammed and I thought the picture here at Michelle site was amusing.

    I guess both of them would be up for stoning in the Sudan.

  2. CarrieP Says:


    To clarify, stoning’s not one of the punishments here.

    I agree the situation is horrid, I did want to put the (very, very minor amount of) perspective on it that there’s no penalty of death here.

    Lashes, fine, or jail time are spectacularly overkill on their own.

  3. mopenshaw Says:

    Some muslims there ARE calling for her death if she did indeed name the bear for the prophet.

    Bluntly, I suspect her case is being used as a showcase for getting further radical muslim support, probably in the form of money, by the government there. A lot of that money has been burned up in the AQI failure in Iraq, though the Taliban ‘cut’ of the Afghan opium harvests probably replenished a lot of coffers.

    And yet Hollywood types don’t think we to be at war with these nutcases.

  4. […] 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 […]

  5. sammi Says:

    Get over yourselves – this is 2000 not the middle ages – come on you religous idiots – evolve!!!!!

  6. CarrieP Says:

    mopenshaw said:

    “Some muslims there ARE calling for her death if she did indeed name the bear for the prophet.”

    I was not aware of that. Thanks for the clarification.

  7. Dave Says:


    More details here. Madness.

  8. […] 24, 2008 Last year Saudi Arabia and Sudan were vying for the Award for the Most Stupid and Pernicious Exercising of Religious Law (in a […]

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