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Old 11-29-2007, 07:24 PM   #21
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Originally posted by deep
I guess we can all empathize with an English speaking westerner. and we can get upset and pass judgments on other cultures.
Isn't it possible that the Sudanese government chose to pursue this as stongly as they have specifically because this woman is an English-speaking Westerner???

I agree that when living/visiting in a foreign country that one should do their best to take a crash course in "What Not to Do". But as others have pointed out, with so many possible pitfalls, is it any wonder she did something to cause offense? Which technically doesn't stand true - she didn't name the bear, her class did. And you'd think if anyone would know what's offensive & what isn't it would be those practicing the religion. I mean, I realize we're talking about children, but if this was such a huge insult, then wouldn't even a grade-schooler be aware it was a no-no???
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Old 11-30-2007, 09:22 AM   #22
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KHARTOUM, Sudan (CNN) -- Hundreds of protesters brandishing swords and sticks gathered outside Khartoum's presidential palace Friday to vent their anger against a British teacher jailed for allowing children to name a teddy bear "Mohammed."

About 600 Islamic demonstrators piled out of mosques, chanting: "By soul, by blood, I will fight for the Prophet Mohammed." Some of the protesters demanded the teacher's execution, according to The Associated Press.

The agency reports that some chanted: "No tolerance: Execution," and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad."


The decision by a Sudanese court to jail Gillian Gibbons late Thursday was widely criticized outside Sudan as too harsh, with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband saying he was "extremely disappointed" the charges were not dismissed.

Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karouri, a prominent cleric and hardliner, told worshippers Friday at the Martyrs Mosque: "Imprisoning this lady does not satisfy the thirst of Muslims in Sudan. But we welcome imprisonment and expulsion," according to AP. But he did not urge worshippers to protest.

In leaflets distributed earlier this week by Muslim groups and seen by CNN, the protesters promised a "popular release of anger" at demonstrations called for Friday.

The leaflets condemned Gibbons as an "infidel" and accused her of "the pollution of children's mentality" by her actions.

The teacher was convicted of insulting religion but cleared of two other charges of inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs, Ali Ajeb, her lawyer said. Watch latest developments in the caseVideo

Ajeb said they were planning to appeal the sentence, which runs from the date she was first detained, November 25.

Gibbons, 54, is being held in a woman's prison in the Omdurman district of Khartoum and she will be deported at the end of her prison term, British consular officials in the city told CNN.

Embassy staff said they were giving the teacher, from the northern English city of Liverpool, full consular assistance. VideoWatch a report on reactions to the verdict »

Omer Mohammed Ahmed Siddig, the Sudanese ambassador to Britain, was summoned for a second time to meet with the British foreign secretary late Thursday after the court's ruling.

Miliband also spoke to the Sudanese acting foreign minister for 15 minutes on the telephone during the meeting, the British Foreign Office said.

"Our priority now is to ensure Ms. Gibbons' welfare and we will continue to provide consular assistance to her," Miliband said in a statement.

The Foreign Office said there would be further talks with the Sudanese government Friday.

Gibbons was arrested Sunday after she asked her class of seven-year-olds in Khartoum to name the toy as part of a school project, the Foreign Office said.

She had faced charges under Article 125 of Sudan's constitution, the law relating to insulting religion and inciting hatred.

She could have faced a sentence of 40 lashes, a fine or jail term of up to a year, according to the Foreign Office, which expressed Britain's dissatisfaction with the verdict.

British newspapers condemned Gibbons' conviction, with The Daily Telegraph calling for the recall of the British ambassador from Khartoum and sanctions against the heads of the Sudanese government.

In an editorial the tabloid newspaper, The Sun, said Gibbons' jailing was a "grotesque insult to Islam" and called Gibbons "an innocent abroad."

Four vans filled with riot police were stationed outside the courthouse at Thursday's hearing, but there were no signs of street disturbances or protests.

Staff from Gibbons' school, including Robert Boulos, the head of Unity High School, were present.

Boulos said he was "horrified" when he found out it was a member of his own staff who complained, not a parent as originally thought.

Defense counsel later confirmed that the complaint came from Sarah Khawad, a secretary at the school.


Gibbons has been working at the school -- popular with wealthy Sudanese and expatriates -- since August, after leaving her position as deputy head teacher at a primary school in Liverpool this summer, Boulos said.

He said Gibbons asked the children to pick their favorite name for the new class mascot, which she was using to aid lessons about animals and their habitats.
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:07 AM   #23
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:09 AM   #24
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they sound like a real enlightened bunch over there...
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Old 11-30-2007, 12:37 PM   #25
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Quote:
New York Times, December 1

...Despite the display of outrage, witnesses said that many of the protesters were government employees who had been ordered to demonstrate, and that aside from a large gathering outside the presidential palace, most of Khartoum was quiet. Imams across the city did bring up the controversial case in sermons after Friday Prayers. But few called for violence.

...It seems that Ms. Gibbons and the teddy bear got sucked into the larger struggle between the Sudanese government, which routinely accuses its Western critics of being anti-Islamic, and European and American officials pressing for an end to the crisis in Darfur. Earlier this month, Sudanese officials said that peacekeepers from Scandinavia could not serve in Darfur, the troubled region of western Sudan, because of what happened two years ago, when several Scandinavian newspapers published controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

United Nations officials have said that the Sudanese government was simply looking for ways to block or delay the deployment of an expanded peacekeeping force to Darfur. This week, United Nations officials said that unless the Sudanese government starts cooperating, the expanded mission may not be possible.
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Old 11-30-2007, 02:35 PM   #26
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I'm curious as to why the teacher didn't seem to think that it might be impolitic of her to allow the name for the bear.

Muhammed is fairly common in many Islamic nations, but I somehow doubt that naming toy bears after a religious figure is a good idea. There are very, very fanatical people who will see it as poking fun at the religion itself. There is an edict against making physical representations of any sort of God's creations out there. Some will see this as turning the founder of the Faith into an idol.

I'm not saying it's right, but it's there. I'm also not saying what they did was right, either, but honestly, I'd rather have her out of there lest something worse happen to her. I can only hope nothing worse happens in the time she has there.
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Old 11-30-2007, 03:00 PM   #27
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Originally posted by Hinder
I'm curious as to why the teacher didn't seem to think that it might be impolitic of her to allow the name for the bear.

Muhammed is fairly common in many Islamic nations, but I somehow doubt that naming toy bears after a religious figure is a good idea. There are very, very fanatical people who will see it as poking fun at the religion itself. There is an edict against making physical representations of any sort of God's creations out there. Some will see this as turning the founder of the Faith into an idol.

I'm not saying it's right, but it's there. I'm also not saying what they did was right, either, but honestly, I'd rather have her out of there lest something worse happen to her. I can only hope nothing worse happens in the time she has there.
You seem to have approached these events with objectivity.

I don't disagree with anything you wrote.

As I said before, they are doing her a favor by deporting her.
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Old 11-30-2007, 06:57 PM   #28
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Awful situation.
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:09 PM   #29
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Originally posted by nathan1977
Since the children chose the name, shouldn't they be the ones in jail?
Good question.

She opened the door.

They crossed the threshold.

Are any of those kids dead yet?

They must have been eaten at this point.

Who knows what a child might think if allowed the freedom of thought.
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:15 PM   #30
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Originally posted by deep
As I said before, they are doing her a favor by deporting her.
You know, I think this thread is the first time I've ever vehemently disagreed with anything you've posted. Pretty ridiculous.
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:10 AM   #31
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We can expect more and more of this as the ilsamist keep expanding their territory right?

Oh, no, I forgot. We are the one's that are causing this stuff.
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Old 12-01-2007, 11:19 PM   #32
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She didn't name the bear after the fricken prophet, she named it after a CHILD in her class!!

This is the reason why all this fearmongers and wassaling over stupid fucking idiotic things like this cause more and more bad reactions all over the place. A few people are pissed, some bitch sooked and told on this teacher, and it gets reported like the whole of Sudan are brandishing weapons and ready to kill her. The fact of the matter is, most people didn't care, it WASNT a big deal, and just some stupid wank official decided to make a big fricken thing about it.
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Old 12-02-2007, 01:08 PM   #33
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Yeah, most people in the Sudan couldn't care less.
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:36 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

Quote:
New York Times, December 1

...Despite the display of outrage, witnesses said that many of the protesters were government employees who had been ordered to demonstrate, and that aside from a large gathering outside the presidential palace, most of Khartoum was quiet. Imams across the city did bring up the controversial case in sermons after Friday Prayers. But few called for violence.

...It seems that Ms. Gibbons and the teddy bear got sucked into the larger struggle between the Sudanese government, which routinely accuses its Western critics of being anti-Islamic, and European and American officials pressing for an end to the crisis in Darfur. Earlier this month, Sudanese officials said that peacekeepers from Scandinavia could not serve in Darfur, the troubled region of western Sudan, because of what happened two years ago, when several Scandinavian newspapers published controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

United Nations officials have said that the Sudanese government was simply looking for ways to block or delay the deployment of an expanded peacekeeping force to Darfur. This week, United Nations officials said that unless the Sudanese government starts cooperating, the expanded mission may not be possible.


Yolland, thanks for bringing our attention to this part of the article. I was really ticked when reading the paper today and seeing how out of hand this situation has become. Your quote seems to cut to the heart of the situation, which is that this is the result of a totalitarian government doing everything it can to incite public anger in order to divert attention from the terrible things it is doing in Darfur, which have been attracting more and more criticism and action from the international community.

i hope the teacher remains safe and that the focus is not switched from stopping the genocide in Darfur.
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:08 PM   #35
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Perhaps the best resolution there could have been. Overall, good news, I suppose.


Dec 3, 12:55 PM (ET)

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) - A British teacher jailed for insulting Islam after she allowed her students to name a teddy bear Muhammad flew home Monday after Sudan's president pardoned her, a British embassy spokesman said.

Gillian Gibbons' conviction under Sudan's Islamic Sharia law shocked Britons and many Muslims worldwide. Hard-line Muslim clerics in Sudan accused her of intentionally seeking to insult Islam's Prophet Muhammad, and the case angered some Sudanese, sparking a protest where demonstrators called for her execution.

Her release came after two British Muslim politicians from the House of Lords met with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir early Monday to plead for her freedom.

Gibbons also sent a written statement to al-Bashir that she did not intend to offend anyone and had great respect for Islam.

Hours after al-Bashir's pardon, Gibbons left the country on a flight home. "I can confirm she has left Sudan," spokesman Omar Daair told The Associated Press. She was believed to be on an Emirates flight with a stopover in Dubai before heading to London early Tuesday.

Gibbons, 54, was sentenced Thursday to 15 days in prison and deportation for insulting Islam because she allowed her students to name a teddy bear Muhammad - a common name among Muslim men - in a class project on animals. The trial was sparked when a school secretary complained to the Education Ministry that Gibbons aimed to insult the Prophet Muhammad. Her time in jail since her arrest Nov. 25 counted toward the sentence.

Lord Nazir Ahmed, who met with al-Bashir earlier Monday along with Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, said the case was an "unfortunate misunderstanding" and stressed that Britain respected Islam.

He hoped "the relations between our two countries will not be damaged by this incident," Ahmed told reporters at the presidential palace after Monday's meeting.

Ghazi Saladdin, a senior presidential adviser, said al-Bashir insisted that Gibbons had a "fair trial," but he agreed to pardon her because of the efforts by the British Muslim delegation.

"We are very relieved and happy that she has been pardoned," said Robert Boulos, director of Khartoum's Unity High School, where Gibbons worked.

In the written statement released by Sudanese presidential palace and read by Warsi to reporters, 54-year-old Gibbons said she was sorry if she caused any "distress."

"I have a great respect for the Islamic religion and would not knowingly offend anyone," Gibbons, who was sentenced Thursday, said in the statement.

"I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends, but I am very sorry that I will be unable to return to Sudan," the statement read.

The teacher escaped harsher punishment that could have included up to 40 lashes, six months in prison and a fine. Her time in jail since her arrest last Sunday counted toward the sentence.

During her trial, the weeping teacher said she had intended no harm. Her students, overwhelmingly Muslim, chose the name for the bear. Muslim scholars generally agree that intent is a key factor in determining if someone has violated Islamic rules against insulting the prophet.

The conviction shocked many Britons, but the case was caught up in the ideology that al-Bashir's Islamic regime has long instilled in Sudan, a mix of anti-colonialism, religious fundamentalism and a sense that the West is besieging Islam.

In Britain, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was delighted by news.

"Common sense has prevailed," Brown said in a statement released by his office.

The case also sparked criticism from many Muslims in the West who said she should have never been arrested. On Monday, Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, welcomed the pardon.

"It will be wonderful to see her back in the U.K. I am sure she will be welcomed by both Muslims and non-Muslims after her quite terrible ordeal at the hands of the Sudanese authorities," Bunglawala said.

A small group of about 40 protesters gathered briefly Monday in front of the British embassy in Khartoum and handed over a petition, spokesman Daair said, without describing the petition. But several cars of riot police arrived and dispersed the crowd.

On Friday during a rally in Khartoum, thousands of protesters, many armed with clubs and swords and beating drums, burned pictures of her and demanded her execution.

After the rally, there were fears for Gibbons' safety and she was moved from the Omdurman women's prison to a secret location, her lawyer has said.

There was no overt sign that the government organized the protest, but such a rally could not have taken place without at least official assent.

Sudan's ambassador in London, Khalid al-Mubarak, insisted Monday that the demonstrations "were an argument from the fringe."
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Old 12-03-2007, 01:11 PM   #36
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KHARTOUM, Sudan (CNN) -- In an effort to shut down Khartoum's Unity High School, a disgruntled former employee alerted Sudanese officials that a British teacher had allowed her class to name a teddy bear "Mohammed," a British source and Sudanese presidential palace source told Time magazine's Sam Dealey.

Gillian Gibbons, 54, was convicted last week of insulting religion and sentenced to 15 days in jail and deportation. Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir pardoned her from her prison sentence on Monday and she later left on a flight for England.

The two sources said Sarah Khawad was fired as the school's secretary in November after an employment spat and threatened to shut down the school.

The sources said Khawad did not appear to have a vendetta against Gibbons, but hoped that by bringing the teddy bear incident to the education minister's attention, he would close down the school for anti-Islamic teachings.

The private school was shut down after the controversy came to light last week. It is unclear if it will reopen.

Although there is no ban in the Quran on images of Allah or the Prophet Mohammed, Islam's founder, some Muslims consider likenesses highly offensive.

The sources said they have confirmed the account with Gibbons.

Defense attorneys confirmed that it was Khawad who launched the initial complaint against Gibbons, not a parent as originally thought. Khawad also testified at Gibbons' trial.

Before approaching Sudan's education minister, the two sources said Khawad tried to enlist two parents, who were also teachers at the school, to join in her protest against the teddy bear's name, but they declined.
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Old 12-04-2007, 09:05 PM   #37
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She didn't name the bear after the fricken prophet, she named it after a CHILD in her class!!
Outrageous and unbelieveable...it sounds like it was a tribute, more than anything. If boxers and other athletes can take on Islamic names in their worlds, surely a toy bear in a kid's class cannot be harmful in any conceivable way.
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Old 12-05-2007, 10:28 AM   #38
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I'm glad they worked this out. Thank goodness!
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