Monday, 26 November 2007

The Peace of Islam at work again...

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.
Colleagues of Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, said she made an "innocent mistake" by letting the six and seven-year-olds choose the name.

Ms Gibbons was arrested after several parents made complaints.

A spokesman from the British Embassy in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, said it was unclear whether she had been charged.

Embassy officials are expected to visit Ms Gibbons in custody later.

"We are in contact with the authorities here and they have visited the teacher and she is in a good condition," an embassy spokesman said.

The spokesman said the naming of the teddy happened months ago and was chosen by the children because it is a common name in the country.

"This happened in September and the parents did not have a problem with it," he said.
The BBC's correspondent Amber Henshaw said Ms Gibbons' punishment could be up to six months in jail, 40 lashes or a fine.
The school has been closed until January for fear of reprisals.
Fellow teachers at Khartoum's Unity High School told Reuters news agency they feared for Ms Gibbons' safety after receiving reports that men had started gathering outside the police station where she was being held.

The school's director, Robert Boulos, said: "This is a very sensitive issue. We are very worried about her safety.

They came up with eight names including Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammad
"This was a completely innocent mistake. Miss Gibbons would have never wanted to insult Islam."
Mr Boulos said Ms Gibbons was following a British national curriculum course designed to teach young pupils about animals and this year's topic was the bear.
Ms Gibbons, who joined the school in August, asked a seven-year-old girl to bring in her teddy bear and asked the class to pick names for it, he said.

"They came up with eight names including Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammad," Mr Boulos said, adding that she then had the children vote on a name.
Twenty out of the 23 children chose Muhammad as their favourite name.
Mr Boulos said each child was then allowed to take the bear home at weekends and told to write a diary about what they did with it.

He said the children's entries were collected in a book with a picture of the bear on the cover and a message which read, "My name is Muhammad."
The bear itself was not marked or labelled with the name in any way, he added.

It is seen as an insult to Islam to attempt to make an image of the Prophet Muhammad.

Mr Boulos said Ms Gibbons was arrested on Sunday at her home inside the school premises after a number of parents complained to Sudan's Ministry of Education.
I know Gillian and she would never have meant it as an insult. I was just impressed that she got them to vote
He said police had seized the book and asked to interview the girl who owned the bear.
The country's state-controlled Sudanese Media Centre reported that charges were being prepared "under article 125 of the criminal law" which covers insults against faith and religion.

No-one at the ministries of education or justice was available for comment.

Mr Boulos told the BBC he was confident she would not face a jail sentence.
"So far there is not any formal accusation, you see, so it wouldn't reach that, it will be just a fine. We are struggling with the authorities and our advocates to just release her, and then the whole case will be dismissed," he said.

One Muslim teacher at the independent school for Christian and Muslim children, who has a child in Ms Gibbons' class, said she had not found the project offensive.
"I know Gillian and she would never have meant it as an insult. I was just impressed that she got them to vote," the teacher said.
In Liverpool, a family spokeswoman said Ms Gibbons' grown children, John and Jessica - both believed to be in their 20s - were not commenting on her arrest.
Gillian Gibbons had been working in Khartoum since August
"I have spoken with her children and they do not want to say anything and aggravate the situation over there," she said.
Friends and neighbours of Ms Gibbons expressed their worry for the former deputy headteacher and respected educator who moved to Sudan in July.
"Gillian is a very talented and able teacher and she was extremely popular with the pupils at this school," said Gillian Jones, Ms Gibbons former colleague at Dovecot Primary School in suburban Aigburth.

Cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad printed in several European newspapers sparked violent [and murderous ! (P.)] protests around the world in 2006.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From the Pied Piper of Haraam

There's a little bear
Like I hope you've never seen before
Who's a lot of fun, oh dear
Children everywhere,
Grow to love him more and more, but it’s not the fastest growing religion anymore
He's was the number one, excepting the real Muhammad and Allah, praise him
There's a million stories to be told
Of the things that he's done!
And he's gonna share them all with you
So come along

Oh Muhammad, Muhammad the Bear
Everyone despise his name, or else die in shame
Muhammad, Muhammad the Bear
Everyone come and join
In all of his games, unless you’re female
There is Badger Bill
Lily Tiger-Lily, I assume because she is covered too,
And a whole lot more
They are Muhammad's friends
And they're waiting here for you
So unlock the door but don’t you dare remove that veil
There's a magic land not far away
And they call it Sudan
Where you'll meet a little teddy bear in chains
And if you are good and have a thick skin, you might just live to tell the tale