Saturday, December 1, 2007

Mohammed the Teddy Bear vs Islam: The Saga Continues

This isn't Islam's finest hour.

Unless the masses of mad Muslims in Khartoum today didn't accurately reflect Islamic thought and belief, when they said:
  • "Shame, shame on the U.K." as a chant, and
  • "No tolerance: Execution," and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad"
They were talking about Gillian Gibbons, a British schoolteacher sentenced by a Sudanese (Islamic) court for "inciting religious hatred" - by letting her class of 7-year-olds name a teddy bear after one of their classmates: whose name is Mohammed.

Gilliam Gibbons has been moved from the Sudanese women's jail she was in, to an undisclosed location. For her own protection, purportedly. Considering what's going in the streets, that might be a good idea.

At least some mosques in Sudan are pumping up the people. In one, Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karouri, famous for his 'hard-line' beliefs, said, "imprisoning this lady does not satisfy the thirst of Muslims in Sudan. But we welcome imprisonment and expulsion."

There's more: "This an arrogant woman who came to our country, cashing her salary in dollars, teaching our children hatred of our Prophet Muhammad."

The demonstrators were probably doing in on their own, or without government sponsorship, at any rate. Sudanese government-inspired demonstrators generally carry semi-automatic weapons. This lot carried axes, knives and clubs.

  • Gillian Gibbons has nine days to go on her sentence: wherever she is; and providing that the Sudanese court doesn't change its mind
  • Muslims are demonstrating in the street
  • Mohammed the Teddy Bear has dropped out of sight
The effects of this Islamic groundswell against the blasphemous teddy bear go beyond Gillian Gibbons. The school she taught at, Unity High School has been closed since Gibbons' arrest. Unity High School (, "The British International School in Sudan / Member BSME; BISW / A school for boys and girls aged 4 to 18") was founded by Christians. Now, about 90% of its students are Muslims: most of them from upper-class Sudanese families.

The sound and fury in Sudan may not be typical of Islam.
  • In Britain, a Muslim Labour peer, Lord Ahmed, says he'll travel to Sudan to try to get Gibbons out of the hoosegow
  • The Muslim Council of Britain wants the Sudanese government to release Gibbons
  • A Peacebuilding Fellow with the American Islamic Congress, Jana El-Horr, said, "Ms. Gibbons needs to be freed at once"
I've heard and read that the "Arab on the street" believes that the wicked west is attacking Islam. They could be right, depending on how "Islam" is defined.

If "Islam" is the bunch of terrorists who accept Osama bin Laden as their leader, the Muslims who kill their daughters when the girls are raped, the people who stamped out soccer in Afghanistan, and destroyed a set of irreplaceable ancient statues in that country, then America and other western nations are attacking "Islam."

I like to believe that there's more to Islam than explosive vests and and lashings: and that the war on terror is going to benefit Muslims in the Middle East as much as atheists in New Hampshire. At least, those Muslims who don't mind getting an education, and catching up on what's happened in the last thousand years or so.

Posts on "British Teacher Home from Sudan: Gillian Gibbons, Muslim Clerics, and a Teddy Bear named Mohammed"

Related posts, on Islam, Christianity, Religion, Culture and the War on Terror.
Related posts, on tolerance, bigotry, racism, and hatred.


Anonymous said...

If I read the story right, didn't the children ask to name the bear that? Are the imams getting fired up about properly punishing children of the faith who should know better, or just against foreigners who would have no reason to know?

Principled Discovery

Brian H. Gill said...


Thanks for visiting.

You read the story right.

So far, the Sudanese court has focused on the foreign teacher.

One interesting detail that hasn't been discussed is how naming a teddy bear "Mohammed" is depicting the prophet, and (somehow) inciting hatred against Islam, **but** naming a boy "Mohammed" isn't.

Shimmy said...

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.