Earlier this morning, I wrote about the British teacher in Sudan who is facing a possible punishment of 40 lashes for allowing her young students to name a teddy bear “Mohammed.”
In an update to that story, Reuters is reporting the comments of a seven year old student in the teacher’s class who claims that the teddy bear was named after him, not that other Mohammed guy:
KHARTOUM (Reuters) – A 7-year-old Sudanese student on Tuesday defended the British teacher accused of insulting Islam saying he had chosen to call a teddy bear Mohammad because it was his own name.
Gillian Gibbons, a 54-year-old teacher at the Unity High School in Khartoum, was arrested on Sunday after complaints from parents that she had insulted Islam’s Prophet by allowing the bear to be named Mohammad. She is facing a third night in jail without being formally charged.
“The teacher asked me what I wanted to call the teddy,” the boy said shyly, his voice barely rising above a whisper. “I said Mohammad. I named it after my name,” he added.
Sitting in his garden wearing shorts, his family, who did not want their full names used, urged him to describe what had happened.
He said he was not thinking of Islam’s Prophet when asked to suggest a name, adding most of the class agreed with his choice.
Mohammad said Gibbons was “very nice” and he would be upset if she never came back to teach. He added Gibbons had not discussed religion nor did she mention the Prophet.
“We studied maths and English and spelling,” he said, rubbing his mop of short, curly hair.
It’s doubtful this will make a difference, as Sudanese law enforcement seem hell-bent on making an example of this evil westerner to the rest of the world:
Justice Minister Mohamed Ali al-Mardi told Reuters formal charges would be leveled once investigations had been completed.
“(The charges) are under the Sudanese penal code … insulting religion and provoking the feelings of Muslims,” he said.
“These are preliminary — after investigation the final charges will be ascertained,” he added.
If charged and convicted of insulting Islam, Gibbons could be sentenced to 40 lashes, six months in prison or a fine, lawyers said.
Brennen at the American Pundit blog wonders: “why is naming a teddy bear Muhammad insulting, but not naming your child the same?”
I suspect it’s because when someone names their child “Mohammed,” which incidentally has become a very popular name in Muslim immigration havens like Britain, they are doing it out of “honor” of the “prophet,” rather than attempting to “make light of” or “cheapen” or “ridicule” him. If anyone else would like to correct or clarify that, please feel free to do so in the comments.