… puts us in the headlines again and boosts our supreme notoriety. Spare some time and read the story here.
A British schoolteacher has been arrested in Sudan accused of insulting Islam’s Prophet, after she allowed her pupils to name a teddy bear Muhammad… the charge could lead to six months in jail, 40 lashes or a fine.
The incident is getting major coverage in the blogosphere and I find myself not knowing whether to laugh or cry. Check out the results in Google Blog Search and Technorati for the keywords “teddy bear sudan”. There are hundreds!
The whole thing is just so unbelievably pathetic. Clearly it’s an honest and innocent mistake. Oh no, how stupid can I be, she’s a white British infidel so it must be a freaking Zionist CrUSAde and Jewish conspiracy. Right? Raaaight!
I don’t think she’ll get lashed or imprisoned. I believe (hope?) she’ll get away with paying a fine – a fine which she doesn’t deserve to pay in my opinion.
Unity School where Ms Gibbons teaches is one of the most prominent international schools in Khartoum. Relatives and many friends of mine studied there. The school has a British curriculum and those who graduate receive an O’Levels certificate.
This isn’t the first time the school finds itself in the midst of a controversy, albeit one surely not as big as this. Back in the 90′s when beloved al-Turabi was still in power and his version of Sharia was being shoved down our throats, the school came under pressure to change the girl’s uniform. Many Islamists hated the fact that girls wore skirts and mixed with boys. Now we have this. And meanwhile, British Keefieboy is confused:
why is it ok for many thousands of men, some of whom have IQs appoaching zero, to be named after him?
Approaching zero indeed.
How is an educated non-Muslim supposed to know what the rules are (answer to last question: you’re not – the rules are made up as we go along). And why is everyone assuming that the bear is named after the Prophet – I believe the caretaker at that school is called Muhammed and everyone really likes him.
Once more, Islamic hardliners are making their religion look ridiculous. How sad.
Make that depressing!
Takhalllllllluf 3ajeeeeeeb ya nas!!
UPDATE I: The Teddy Bear “Crisis” Gets More Attention
Oh dear, it just hit CNN! I watched it five minutes ago. The British Prime Minister commented on the incident and already high ranking British government officials are engaging Sudanese ones in the… ah so very, very important matter.
Freelance journalist Rob Crilly is reporting from Khartoum with a post on his blog, followed by an article in Times Online elaborating the updates.
I hate the stupidity of this. More attention will hopefully mean the release of Ms Gibbons without getting jailed or lashed so bring it please! Of course we may fully expect to see local hardliners politicizing the incident for their own advantage and trying to mobilize anger with it which shall complicate matters further. They’ll squeeze its juices until the last drop. Fingers crossed.
At the moment, some pro-government newspapers are making it seem that the teacher named the teddy bear Muhammad on her own and on purpose. Here are posts from my fellow annoyed Sudanese bloggers on the issue:
The school has been shut down until January for fear of reprisals. Wow, surprise of the century!
UPDATE II: The Teddy Bear “Crisis” Continues – Teacher Sentenced To 15 Days In Jail Followed By Deportation
I can’t believe the ridiculous amount of attention this is getting. I guess it happens when we have depressingly pathetic incidents like this. People! We should be talking about Darfur instead! But… it looks like we won’t. So here I go, while doing my best not to fill up this post update with profanities.
Ms Gibbons will unfortunately be spending the next two weeks in a tiny room after which she will head back home to her country. The bright side? At least she’s not getting lashed 40 times. At the start I was honestly expecting she’ll get away with a fine but when the noisy hardliners got louder and began making their usual super sensible statements, I got skeptical.
I can’t really say I’m surprised over how this turned out. These people live in a world of conspiracy theories where everything a Westerner does might be a plot against Islam.
However, influential Muslim hard-liners sought to raise outrage over the case. The semi-official Assembly of the Ulemas, or Islamic clerics, said Wednesday that Gibbon’s action was “another ring in the circles of plotting against Islam.”
They’re so bored out of their minds, they need to imagine themselves as characters in a video game. This is entertainment to them. They thrive on this. And you know what? I say Islam’s biggest enemy is in fact people like them.
Imams are going to order people to demonstrate after Friday prayers today.
Wednesday night, a pickup truck drove through Khartoum calling for Sudanese to hold protests after Muslim prayers Friday.
But Maj. Gen. Abdeen al-Tahir of the Khartoum police, vowed security would prevent any protests. “Nothing will happen tomorrow,” he said.
Good luck Mr. Abdeen. It should be fun. Damn, I’m so jealous, I wish I could join them. There will be shouting, and screaming, and jumping, and a big crowd of furious people. Seriously, what’s there not to like? The only thing missing is a heavy metal band. Now that would be cool. We’ll make a mosh pit, head bang together and proclaim “down with the infidel teacher”. Oh and then we’ll start burning some American flags! Yaaay!
Al-Bashir’s NCP doesn’t want this to escalate. Hardliners could very well inflame strong sentiments against Westerners in the city which will obviously be bad, hence the wonderful “balancing act”. Bleh. And some people wonder why I adore cute Islamists.
A teddy bear named Muhammad? Oh, very, very insulting. An Islamic media company releasing a DVD featuring a stuffed toy named Adam? Let’s just ignore it. Lovely butchers like him YES! Oh yeah, now THAT’S what I’m talking about. No problem at all. None whatsoever.
Oh and for all you Brits putting the blame on her, SHAME ON YOU! As for the Commenters, tone down your derogatory language. Alright?
UPDATE III: Demonstrators Call For Teacher’s Execution.
Maj. Gen. Abdeen al-Tahir of the Khartoum police failed. There were angry protests. No surprise there really.
KHARTOUM, Sudan – Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied Friday in a central square and demanded the execution of a British teacher convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear “Muhammad.”
… They massed in central Martyrs Square, outside the presidential palace, where hundreds of riot police were deployed, although they did not attempt to stop the rally.
I gotta tell you, the mixture of religious dogmatic views and culture of honor displayed in this case is appalling.
… The women’s prison where Gibbons is being held is far from the site, as is the Unity High School where she taught, which is under heavy security protection.
I just got off the phone a while ago. A close friend of mine has younger siblings who study in Unity High School where Ms Gibbons taught. Some people did in fact want to burn down the school.
The “crisis” continues.