Infidel Insults Islam, Gets Arrested - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-26-2007, 01:11 PM   #1
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 04:58 AM
Infidel Insults Islam, Gets Arrested

Quote:
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. ...

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. 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.
link

What a stupid law for protecting religion from defamation.
__________________

A_Wanderer is offline  
Old 11-26-2007, 01:33 PM   #2
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 26,613
Local Time: 02:58 PM
Yes I'd say that's pretty wackadoodle-but they are not the only ones who are easily offended when it comes to their religion. Obviously it's taking it to an extreme to arrest someone for that, or jail them, or lash them.
__________________

MrsSpringsteen is offline  
Old 11-26-2007, 01:47 PM   #3
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 04:58 AM
Pretty low on the scale for Sudan though.
A_Wanderer is offline  
Old 11-26-2007, 03:38 PM   #4
Blue Crack Addict
 
Moonlit_Angel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: In a dimension known as the Twilight Zone...do de doo doo, do de doo doo...
Posts: 20,191
Local Time: 01:58 PM
Wow. That's pretty out there. Seems like she meant no offense, so...yeah. Overreacting much?

Angela
Moonlit_Angel is offline  
Old 11-26-2007, 08:29 PM   #5
Rock n' Roll Doggie
VIP PASS
 
Pearl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: NYC
Posts: 5,741
Local Time: 02:58 PM
I wondering if international outcry and/or Britain's intervention would reduce her sentencing.
Pearl is offline  
Old 11-26-2007, 09:08 PM   #6
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 04:58 AM
In the actual case of an insult to Islam the international outcry was against the cartoonists.
A_Wanderer is offline  
Old 11-26-2007, 09:19 PM   #7
Refugee
 
AussieU2fanman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 1,638
Local Time: 05:28 AM
How do they justify naming Islamic children Muhammad then? Surely that's blasphemy aswell?
AussieU2fanman is offline  
Old 11-27-2007, 01:29 AM   #8
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Strong Badia
Posts: 3,440
Local Time: 06:58 PM
Since the children chose the name, shouldn't they be the ones in jail?
nathan1977 is offline  
Old 11-27-2007, 10:04 AM   #9
Rock n' Roll Doggie
VIP PASS
 
CTU2fan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 5,366
Local Time: 02:58 PM
Please don't try to rationalize this...theocracy & logic are mutually exclusive.
CTU2fan is offline  
Old 11-27-2007, 10:29 AM   #10
Blue Crack Addict
 
verte76's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: hoping for changes
Posts: 23,331
Local Time: 06:58 PM
Wow.....a harsh sentence for an innocent act.
verte76 is offline  
Old 11-27-2007, 01:28 PM   #11
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 07:58 PM
I have to imagine that this is an act of deliberate nose-thumbing vengefulness on the Sudanese authorities' part. Even allowing for the possibility that a classroom teddy bear named Muhammad really is likely to offend the average Sudanese Muslim's sensibilities (and it's not at all clear from what I've read how strong that possibility actually is), still, the nature of the circumstances makes it obvious that any such offense (let alone law-breaking) couldn't possibly have been intentional on the teacher's part. So I have to imagine the authorities were looking for an opportunity to make an example of someone...which, unfortunately, may not bode well for a speedy and fair resolution of the case.
__________________
yolland [at] interference.com


μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
yolland is offline  
Old 11-28-2007, 08:24 AM   #12
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 26,613
Local Time: 02:58 PM
Sudan: Teacher in bear case may be freed

By MOHAMED OSMAN, Associated Press WriterTue Nov 27, 8:00 PM ET

A British teacher arrested for allowing her students to name a teddy bear Muhammad will probably be cleared and released soon, a spokesman for the Sudanese embassy in London said Tuesday.

Gillian Gibbons was arrested Sunday and faced possible charges of insulting religion — a crime punishable by up to 40 lashes. She was questioned by Sudanese authorities on Tuesday.

"The police is bound to investigate," embassy spokesman Khalid al Mubarak told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. "I am pretty certain that this minute incident will be clarified very quickly and this teacher who has been helping us with the teaching of children will be safe and will be cleared."

Asked about the potential punishments — six months imprisonment or 40 lashes — he said: "My impression is that the whole thing could probably be settled amicably long before we reach stages like these ... Our relationship with Britain is so good that we wouldn't like such a minute event to be overblown."

Gibbons was arrested after one of her pupils' parents complained, accusing her of naming the bear after Islam's prophet and founder. Muhammad is a common name among Muslim men, but giving the prophet's name to an animal would be seen as insulting by many Muslims.

Sudan's United Nations ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, said Tuesday that Sudanese authorities were concerned enough about the volatility of the situation to take steps to protect Gibbons' safety.

"We're careful and very concerned about her safety," Mohamad said in answer to a reporter's question. "I can assure you her safety, she will be very much protected, and no harm will ever come to her while we are protecting her."

Several Sudanese newspapers ran a statement Tuesday reportedly from Unity High School in Khartoum where Gibbons taught, saying the administration "offers an official apology to the students and their families and all Muslims for what came from an individual initiative." It said Gibbons had been "removed from her work at the school."

In the first official comment on the case, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday played down the significance of the case, calling it "isolated despite our condemnation and rejection of it."

Ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadeq said it was an incidence of a "teacher's misconduct against the Islamic faith" but noted the school's apology.

The statement from the school in newspapers called it a "misunderstanding." It underlined the school's "deep respect for the heavenly religions" and for the "beliefs of Muslims and their rituals."

The Arabic statement was not officially confirmed by the school. But a person reached by phone at the school who identified herself as an administrator said the statement was correct. She refused to give her name, citing the sensitivity of the situation.

She said the school has closed for at least the next week until the controversy eases. The Unity High School, a private English-language school with elementary to high school levels, was founded by Christian groups, but 90 percent of its students are Muslim, mostly from upper-class Sudanese families.

The school's director, Robert Boulos, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that the incident was "a completely innocent mistake. Miss Gibbons would have never wanted to insult Islam."

Gibbons, 54, was teaching her pupils, who are around age 7, about animals and asked one of them to bring in her teddy bear, Boulos said. She asked the students to pick names for it and they proposed Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammad, and in the end the pupils voted to name it Muhammad, he said.

Each child was allowed to take the bear home on weekends and write a diary about what they did with it. The diary entries were collected in a book with the bear's picture on the cover, labeled, "My Name is Muhammad," he said. The bear itself was never labeled with the name, he added.

A former colleague of Gibbons, Jill Langworthy, told The Associated Press the lesson is a common one in Britain.

"She's a wonderful and inspirational teacher, and if she offended or insulted anybody she'd be dreadfully sorry," said Langworthy, who taught with Gibbons in Liverpool.

There were widespread calls in Britain for Gibbons' release. The Muslim Council of Britain called upon the Sudanese government to intervene. British opposition Conservative party lawmaker William Hague called on the British government to "make it clear to the Sudanese authorities that she should be released immediately."

Omar Daair, spokesman for the British Embassy in Sudan, said embassy officials were in touch with Sudanese authorities and had met with Gibbons. He said he expected authorities to decide whether to bring her to court, and on what charges, within a few days.

"Her lawyer is trying to get her released on bail in the meanwhile," he said.

The case recalled the outrage that was sparked in the Islamic world when European newspapers ran cartoons deriding the Prophet Muhammad, prompting sometimes violent protests in many Muslim countries. Most interpretations of the religion bar even favorable depictions of the highly revered prophet, for fear of encouraging idolatry or misrepresenting him.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir this month suggested this month that he would ban Denmark, Sweden and Norway — where newspapers ran the cartoons — from contributing engineering personnel to a planned U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

Al-Bashir's government already has tense relations with the West, which has widely condemned his regime for alleged abuses in Darfur where more than 200,000 people have died in a conflict that began in early 2003.
MrsSpringsteen is offline  
Old 11-28-2007, 10:49 AM   #13
Blue Crack Addict
 
DaveC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: mar-a-lago delenda est
Posts: 20,786
Local Time: 02:58 PM
http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/af...ars/index.html

Charged with "insulting religion" and "inciting hatred".

This is patently idiotic.
DaveC is online now  
Old 11-29-2007, 09:01 AM   #14
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
1stepcloser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 3,764
Local Time: 07:58 PM
Welcome to the middle east...
1stepcloser is offline  
Old 11-29-2007, 11:57 AM   #15
Blue Crack Addict
 
verte76's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: hoping for changes
Posts: 23,331
Local Time: 06:58 PM
Well, not all of the Middle East is that way. Turkey isn't. It's a secular state and religion isn't taught in the schools. There has been a huge controversy over headscarves. Some women wear them, but no one wears a veil. Women in Jordan don't have to wear veils or headscarves. I'm not sure how'd they take to naming a bear Mohammed, however.
verte76 is offline  
Old 11-29-2007, 01:52 PM   #16
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 07:58 PM
Quote:
Associated Press, Nov 29, 2:04 PM EST

KHARTOUM — British teacher Gillian Gibbons was convicted of insulting Islam for letting her pupils name a teddy bear Muhammad and sentenced to 15 days in prison and deportation from Sudan, one of her defense lawyers said Thursday. Ali Mohammed Ajab, of Gibbons' defense team, said she was found guilty of "insulting the faith of Muslims in Sudan" under Article 125 of the Sudanese criminal code, a lighter conviction than the original charge of inciting religious hatred. A charge later confirmed by a judge leaving the closed court session.
Quote:
Colleague prompted teacher trial

The Guardian (UK), November 29

The British teacher facing 40 lashes for naming a teddy bear Muhammad was reported to police by an office worker at her Sudan school, it has emerged...The judge...ordered the prosecution to produce the person who originally complained against Mrs Gibbons and she was revealed as Sara Khawad, an office assistant at the Unity High School.

Earlier reports said pupils' parents had objected to the teddy, but school director Robert Boulos said he had been told more recently by police the complaint came from a member of staff. "I would be surprised if any parents complained to the ministry without coming to me first, and no one came to me," he said, insisting that the school's parents support Gibbons.

Episcopalian Bishop Ezekiel Kondo, Mrs Gibbons' employer, also outside the courtroom, said he was there "as a witness to testify that she never intended to insult any religion" and dismissed rumours the school had fired her.
^ I'd read an article a couple days back in which another teacher from the school raised suspicions that sour grapes over an unrelated earlier incident involving Gibbons and another school employee might have been the true source and motivation for this complaint, can't recall now which paper I read that in though.
Quote:
The New York Times, Nov. 28

The charges were made as Sudanese government officials continued to resist efforts to deploy peacekeepers in Darfur and accused several Western countries of being anti-Islamic. On Tuesday, the British ambassador to the United Nations asked the Security Council to address warrants against a Sudanese official and a militia leader accused of war crimes in Darfur, a troubled region of western Sudan where more than 200,000 people have died. Some Sudanese analysts wondered if charges had been filed against the teacher in retaliation.

The case started in September when Ms. Gibbons, who is from Liverpool, began a project on animals and asked her class to suggest a name for a teddy bear. Unity School, where she taught, educates Christian and Muslim students, many of them the children of wealthy Sudanese families and foreign diplomats. It has been closed until further notice because of the controversy.
__________________
yolland [at] interference.com


μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
yolland is offline  
Old 11-29-2007, 02:45 PM   #17
Blue Crack Addict
 
deep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: A far distance down.
Posts: 28,600
Local Time: 10:58 AM
I guess we can all empathize with an English speaking westerner.

and we can get upset and pass judgments on other cultures.


Well, this is completely over blown in my opinion.


This woman is teaching in Sudan and ignorant of the Religion and Culture?

If the children said lets play doctor and examine each other

would that be a reasonable defense?


I am not surprised Islam feels disrespected by the West.


The 15 days and deportation are doing her a favor.

She should not be teaching there if she is this ignorant of the customs and culture.
deep is offline  
Old 11-29-2007, 04:04 PM   #18
Blue Crack Addict
 
MrsSpringsteen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 26,613
Local Time: 02:58 PM
So she should be jailed and/or lashed?

What if someone from the Sudan who is a Muslim came to teach in the US in a Christian school and "disrespected their culture" in a similar way-should they be punished? They might be ignorant of same here, so they shouldn't be teaching here? I'm not in favor of disrespecting anyone's religious beliefs and culture but I don't think that was her intention, not from what I have read. Especially if there were sour grapes involved with another school employee and this was used against her for that reason.

My feelings about it have nothing to do with her being an English speaking Westerner, I merely think it's overblown on their part. A woman who is raped can be punished by some Muslims but just don't name a teddy bear Muhammed. Oh yeah, she disrespected her culture too. Her fault.

Also the students chose the name, partly because it's also the name of the most popular kid in class. So they disrespected their own culture too and should be punished, right?
MrsSpringsteen is offline  
Old 11-29-2007, 06:40 PM   #19
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 07:58 PM
I have yet to read an article on this case which gave me the impression that yes indeed, a classroom teddy bear named Muhammad after a classmate would undoubtedly gravely offend most Sudanese Muslims (let alone most Muslims in general). Certainly it's been the case that those of Gibbons' fellow teachers, her students, and her students' parents who've spoken to the English press, several of them Sudanese Muslims, have made it clear that they found the charges unwarranted, some of them in quite strong terms despite the threats to the school from the government ("indefinitely" shutting it down, requiring them to run an apology in the local newspapers). And as was revealed in the courtroom, none of the parents had in fact complained.

No way to know for sure without being there, of course, and it does seem to be the case that some radical groups, such as the men who attacked Gibbons' lawyer, agreed that associating the name of Muhammad with a (toy) animal ought to be considered a crime. Perhaps theirs is a widely shared view--in a culture where animals hold very low status, it wouldn't be surprising if the idea of a "teddy bear" seemed bizarre to begin with, and the idea of naming one after a revered religious figure perverse--but, that doesn't seem to have been the reaction of the parents whose children actually named, took turns bringing home, and wrote about said toy.

Also, having spent some time teaching in a non-Western culture myself, and having helped out with orientation of visiting professors from all over the world back here, I find the idea that a newly arrived foreign teacher should be expected to have an exhaustive insider's knowledge of all the possible cultural minefields s/he might stumble across naive. Cultural orientation for teachers and other service professionals is almost always a rather 'crash course' affair--you get a few recommended books to read on your own, maybe a few days up to a few weeks of intensive guided introduction to your new environment with the emphasis being mostly on local pedagogical culture, and beyond that, probably only the broadest and/or most commonly encountered 'Big No-Nos' stressed to you before you're expected to hit the ground running, hopefully with a designated advisor at your school to troubleshoot and counsel as you proceed. Generally it is simply taken for granted that of course you will make an embarrassing faux pas here and there, maybe a student complains, your advisor or other appropriate figure politely takes you aside, points out your mistake and suggests how to make amends and/or avoid repeating it, and you apply their advice then move right on along. A composition exercise involving a teddy bear, with a name to be voted on by the students, doesn't exactly sound like the sort of thing that would occur to the average administrator or advisor to anticipate and offer special pointers for. And 'animals have low status here, therefore a child's toy animal should not be named Muhammad, even if some students are and they like the idea' doesn't sound like the sort of connection that would likely occur to a recently arrived teacher from a wholly different culture.
__________________
yolland [at] interference.com


μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
yolland is offline  
Old 11-29-2007, 06:55 PM   #20
Blue Crack Addict
 
Moonlit_Angel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: In a dimension known as the Twilight Zone...do de doo doo, do de doo doo...
Posts: 20,191
Local Time: 01:58 PM
Thank you, MrsSpringsteen and yolland . Well said.

Yeah, believe me, I would never, ever disrespect another culture-I'd study up on the customs and laws as much as possible ahead of time, and if I did happen to upset somebody, I would hope they would tell me they were offended, and then I would apologize and change my behavior.

I just think the reaction to this from some people is a bit overblown, personally. And even so, okay, some people may be offended, fine. They definitely have that right. Different things will be offensive to different people. But to punish her for it? I don't agree with that.

Angela
__________________

Moonlit_Angel is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:58 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com
×