British teacher faces 40 lashes in a Sudanese jail over teddy bear named Mohammed

The Religion of Peace strikes again:

A British teacher is facing 40 lashes in a Sudanese jail if convicted of insulting Islam’s prophet by letting children name a teddy bear Mohammed.

Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, was arrested on suspicion of blasphemy on Sunday.

Ms Gibbons allowed her class of seven-year-olds at the Unity High School in Khartoum to name a teddy bear Mohammed as part of a lesson about animals’ habitats.

Mohammed is sacred to Islamic philosophy and the penalty for blasphemy is 40 lashes, a large fine or a jail term. The British Embassy in Khartoum confirmed the arrest.

A source close to the school said one teacher was angered by the naming of the teddy bear and complained to the headmistress.


There is no specific, or explicit ban in the Koran on images of Allah or the Prophet Mohammed – be they carved, painted or drawn.

However, chapter 42, verse 11 of the Koran does say: “[Allah is] the originator of the heavens and the earth… [there is] nothing like a likeness of Him.”

The fear is that images could give rise to idolatry but in this case the response in Sudan, which has been governed by strict Islamic Sharia law since 1983, has been unusually harsh, said Hassan Aberdeen, a researcher at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.

“It seems that the parents made an issue of the teacher calling an animal Mohammed,” he said. “Calling him a dog or a pig is insulting, but this is just a teddy bear.”

“This could be more to do with who is saying it than what is being said. It might not have been an issue if this was a Sudanese person.

“The fact that this was a European teacher is highly likely to be one of the key causes.”

I’m with Gina Cobb, who writes:

What’s sad is that Ms. Gibbons probably thought she was helping make the world a better place by giving up her deputy headteacher position in Liverpool to move to Sudan. She also undoubtedly believed that allowing the students to name the teddy bear after Mohammed was culturally sensitive. But sharia is apparently unforgiving of such inadvertent slights.

Let’s hope Sudan comes to its senses and refrains from meting out the harsh punishment of Islamic law. If it continues down this path, Sudan will lose the most in the long run.

As a side note, you have to wonder how the British government intends to respond – or even if it intends to respond. Their tepid response to the capture of British troops by Iranian thugs was a source of deep embarassment for Tony Blair. Of course they government there is headed now by Gordon Brown, but nothing I’ve seen from him indicates he’ll treat this latest instance of Islamofascist aggression against a fellow Brit in a foreign land any differently.

Semi-related: Bryan Preston at Hot Air blogs about a group of stupid liberal Christians begging for forgiveness for past Christian “sins” to prominent Muslim “scholars,” “clerics,” etc, all of which brings to mind something I figured out long ago: What’s the easiest way to distinguish between a liberal Christian and a conservative Christian? The conservative Christian is unapologetic for being a Christian.

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