OK, let’s get this straight right from the start – I’m NOT anti-Islam. Each to their own as far as I’m concerned.
But this is stupid, by anyone’s stretch of the imagination. How can a teacher be jailed for allowing children to democratically elect the name of a teddy bear which was then used to teach the said children about responsibility? These are life skills that should surely be the cornerstone of modern civilisation independent of age, sex, race and religion.
This is not just a case of injustice, but it has demonstrated a complete lack of common sense and simple reasoning from the Sudanese authorities. I don’t believe that ignorance of a law or local sensitivities is an excuse for doing wrong by the people you are living alongside, but this is a case surrounded by such massively mitigating circumstances that surely, instead of being sentenced to 15 days imprisonment, Gillian Gibbons should be praised for her efforts in not just teaching maths and grammar, but instilling in her pupils attributes clearly absent from the court room that she was stood in today.
One report that really got my back up was from “Sudan’s top clerics” who, according to the BBC, “labelled [Mrs Gibbons’] actions part of a Western plot against Islam”. Only the exclamation of an obscenity would get near to what I’d like to put for such a comment. The last time the majority of the sane thinking Western world plotted against Islam, we invaded on horseback and dressed in chainmail while Robin Hood stayed home to rob from the rich and give to the poor. While open to much debate, modern war against Islamic countries is either because of oil, the need for re-election into office, discomfort with people from Islamic countries trying to kill each other or people in the west or perhaps a belief in the greater good (however misplaced that may be). Religion per se doesn’t come into it.
Honestly. I mean, just think about it. Bush and Brown in a 9am transatlantic telephone conference. After a 10 minute delay for George to rummage through his e-mail and retrieve the meeting number:
“Hey Gordy, I’ve had the most stupendous idea. Why don’t we send someone over to one of these Muslamic places and name a stuffed animal Muhammad?”
“Why George, that’s brilliant! I can’t believe we never before thought of such a simple solution to bring down one of the most dominant global religions with a following of up to 1.8 billion. So simplistic and yet so beautiful because of it. How can it possibly fail? I’ve even got the perfect person to it – a 54 year old female teacher from Liverpool”.
Must have been gutting for George if the voting was close and it required a Supreme Court ruling to stop it being called Ishmael. Surely one of the kids must have marked their voting slip on the line rather than in the middle of the box. Thankfully it was a landslide.
It’s just absurd. Even the fact that one of the charges was, apparently, inciting religious hatred. What? Getting the children to hate their own religion by calling their own teddy bear Muhammad?
Ironically, the methods supposed to put an end to this type of stupidity in the long term have just perpetuated in the short.