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British Teacher Jailed Over Naming a Teddy Bear Muhammad

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Old 11-27-2007, 12:48 PM   #1
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A British primary school teacher arrested in Sudan faces up to 40 lashes for blasphemy after letting her class of 7-year-olds name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, was arrested at at Khartoum's Unity High School yesterday, and accused of insulting the Prophet of Islam.

Her colleagues said that they feared for her safety after reports that groups of young men had gathered outside the Khartoum police station where she was taken and were shouting death threats.

The Unity school is a Christian-run but multi-racial and co-educational private school that is popular with Sudanese professionals and expatriate workers.

Bishop Ezekiel Kondo, chairman of the school council, told The Times that the school was in dispute with authorities over taxes, and suggested that Gibbons, who arrived in Khartoum in August, may have been caught up in that.

"The thing may be very simple but there are people who are trying to make it bigger. It's a kind of blackmail," he said.

Teachers at the school, in central Khartoum, a mile from the Nile River, said that Gibbons had made an innocent mistake by letting her pupils choose their favorite name for the toy as part of a school project.

Robert Boulos, the Unity director, said Gibbons was following a British National Curriculum course designed to teach young pupils about animals and their habitats. This year’s animal was the bear.

In September, she asked a girl to bring in her teddy bear to help the class focus and then asked the children to name the toy.

“They came up with eight names including Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammad. Then she explained what it meant to vote and asked them to choose the name,” Boulos said.

Twenty out of the 23 children chose Muhammad. Each child was allowed to take the bear home for weekends and asked to keep a diary about what they did with the toy. Each entry was collected in a book with a picture of the bear on the cover, next to the message "My name is Muhammad."

Boulos said that the bear itself was not marked or labeled with the name in any way, adding that Sudanese police had now seized the book and asked to interview the 7-year-old girl who brought in the bear.

He said that he had decided to close down the school until January for fear of reprisals in Sudan’s predominantly Muslim capital.

“This is a very sensitive issue. We are very worried about her safety,” he said. “This was a completely innocent mistake. Ms. Gibbons would have never wanted to insult Islam.”

The British Embassy in Khartoum said that it was still unclear whether Gibbons had been charged formally. “We are following it up with the authorities and trying to meet her in person,” it said.

Under Sudan's Sharia law, blasphemy could attract a large fine, 40 lashes or a jail term of up to six months.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312895,00.html

Religion of peace, eh? It's just a bear, and just a name. In fact, it's the most common name - especially in that region.

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Old 11-27-2007, 01:49 PM   #2
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This is just crazy, I know there is something called being socially sensitive, but this is taking it too far IMO

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Old 11-28-2007, 02:22 PM   #3
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The UK advisers generally thought that she would be released quietly, but far from it she has now been formally charged.
I feel very sorry for her. But if you choose to go to a foreign country, you choose to live under their rules: even ones you don't know.
I just hope its only a fine handed out, as I'm sure many people would want to contribute (and the west could rationalize it as just being a money making scheme.)
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Old 11-30-2007, 06:58 AM   #4
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Thousands in Sudan Call for British Teddy Bear Teacher's Execution
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."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,314111,00.html


With clubs and knives ...well, Make sure if you are brit to spend your vacations somewhere else , it doesn't seem you are welcome in sudan.lol
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Old 11-30-2007, 07:00 AM   #5
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This is soooooooo twibattin stupid@!!!!!!!!!
It makes me angry
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Old 11-30-2007, 09:47 AM   #6
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7121025.stm

Jailed for 15 days..

So what about all those Islam people living here in the UK, should we not allow them to call anything british such as a teddy??
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Old 11-30-2007, 10:31 AM   #7
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The thing is, luckily, that no country is supporting sudanese muslims stance, many muslim leaders in the uk have come out in support of the teacher, not the muslims
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Old 11-30-2007, 09:30 PM   #8
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Lord Ahmed and Baroness Warsi head to Sudan to straighten out the whole teddy bear crisis

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uklatest/s...118324,00.html
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:04 PM   #9
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wow some people jeez.no real comment it might get nasty.
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carsey View Post
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7121025.stm

Jailed for 15 days..

So what about all those Islam people living here in the UK, should we not allow them to call anything british such as a teddy??
Accualy "Teddy" was an american term. The teddy bear was named for Theodore Roosevelt.
http://www.npg.si.edu/exh/roosevelt/tbear.htm

But I do agree, not a very tollerant religion is it? Although being a teacher, she should have known the customs a little better.
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Old 12-01-2007, 10:12 AM   #11
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I've ordered three. How many are YOU ordering?

www.cafepress.com/bobmccarty.194693988
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Old 12-01-2007, 11:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruiser View Post
I've ordered three. How many are YOU ordering?

www.cafepress.com/bobmccarty.194693988
See, I thought Mohammad the Monkey sounded better, but I wasn't going to say it in case of offense.
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Old 12-03-2007, 08:41 AM   #13
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shes been released today - not sure what influence the visit by british diplomats had, but still good news

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7124447.stm

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