British teacher charged with insulting Islam

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The British school teacher arrested in Sudan has been charged today with blasphemy, insulting Islam and inciting hatred after her pupils named a teddy bear Muhammad.

Gillian Gibbons, 54, now faces 40 lashes, a six month prison sentence or a fine if convicted of the crime.

The decision to press charges has triggered diplomatic tensions between Sudan and Britain. David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, immediately summoned the Sudanese diplomat in London to the Foreign Office.

"We are surprised and disappointed by this development, and the Foreign Secretary will summon as a matter of urgency the Sudanese ambassador to discuss the matter further," a spokesman for Gordon Brown said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaEngland / UK

Posted November 28, 2007 at 6:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. robroy wrote:

Well, at least she wasn’t raped. The punishment for that “crime” is 200 lashes, and her brother tried to kill her for bringing shame to the family.

Maybe Rowan Williams will say something nice about this, too.

November 28, 8:08 pm | [comment link]
2. VaAnglican wrote:

Well, robroy, if Rowan say something nice, John Chane can be counted on to do so, probably as he introduces these wonderful followers of the same Abrahamic god to a left-wing gathering at Washington National Cathedral.

November 28, 8:17 pm | [comment link]
3. plainsheretic wrote:

could president bush call his first cousin the king of saud?

November 28, 8:25 pm | [comment link]
4. William P. Sulik wrote:

Umm, plainsparson, were you aware that neither Sudan nor England are on the same continent as the US (“president bush”) or Saudi Arabia (“the king of saud”)?

November 28, 8:39 pm | [comment link]
5. Christopher Johnson wrote:


November 28, 8:40 pm | [comment link]
6. Jeffersonian wrote:

Is it possible to insult Islam?

November 28, 8:49 pm | [comment link]
7. RevK wrote:

One of the tenants of Huntington’s “Bloody Borders” theory is that by its very nature Islam is ‘offended’ by contact with the non-Muslim world.  The Muslim world has also taken great advantage of Western sensitivity in this regard.  They know that there are many Westerners who will blame the West first, and the much of the Muslim world is happy to help them.  And the Western Press is afraid of them.  It is then no wonder that a white British woman would be punished in this way while Christians in Indonesia and Sri Lanka are systematically herded into ghettos and often murdered.

November 28, 10:17 pm | [comment link]
8. AnglicanFirst wrote:

Much has been made by apologists who say that Islam is one of the three great Abrahamic faiths.  In terms of theology and orthodox belief and behavior (i.e. belief and behavior consistant with both the New and the Old Testaments), Islam has shown itself to be radically different from Judiasm and Christianity.

Acknowledging the fact that Christians have not always acted as Christ would have had them act, the fact remains that radical Muslims and a large part of the Muslim world do not think, act or react in a manner that is consistent the normative behavior of the non-Muslim world.

When Muslims punish a ‘witless’ school teacher from ‘without’ their world for doing something that is considered ‘harmless’ in the rest of the world, then they declare themselves to be uniquely non-integratable in the “rest of the world.”

I just truly pray that the USA can become independent of Muslim dominated foreign energy sources and be able to let the Muslim world ‘steep in its own juice.’

However, I will support courageous missionaries willing to bring Christ’s Word and Salvation to the Muslim world.

November 28, 10:30 pm | [comment link]
9. teatime wrote:

I’m surprised they’re not planning to flog the kiddies, too. After all, they suggested the names and voted for “Muhammed.” Better yet, flog all of the Muslim students for attending a Christian school.


November 28, 10:46 pm | [comment link]
10. Jeffersonian wrote:

And, if Muslim arms get tired, there’s the ever-helpful self-flagellating Christian, always willing to take the whip to his own hide:§ion=theuae&col;

November 28, 11:05 pm | [comment link]
11. Barry wrote:

I suggest that folks read this book!  Jihadists intent to destroy the USA from inside as foreign governments build mosques here and jihad is preached from within them.  For them either you are Muslim or dead!

Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror

November 29, 1:10 am | [comment link]
12. RoyIII wrote:

These muslims are just animals.  It makes me sick to see the ABC snuggle up to them like he does.

November 29, 1:17 am | [comment link]
13. Philip Snyder wrote:

Actually, according to this article, the bear was named for one of the students in the class at the student’s suggestion.  I agree that this is barbaric.  Were someone to step on a cross or tread a consecrated host underfoot or do something else that would be offensive to Christians, I would be offended and angry, but I wouldn’t think the person deserved to be whipped or punished in any way.  I would use the opportunity to witness to the love of God through Jesus Christ, though. 

Phil Snyder

November 29, 2:15 am | [comment link]
14. Philip Snyder wrote:

oops, I messed up the link.  try this.
If that doesn’t work, try this link

Phil Snyder

November 29, 2:17 am | [comment link]
15. Cousin Vinnie wrote:

Watch out!  Nasty British letter to follow, where the Crown will, no doubt, view the situation with “great concern,” perhaps even “dismay.”

November 29, 2:26 am | [comment link]
16. Katherine wrote:

Thanks for the link, Phil.  A goodly number of little boys in any Muslim area are named “Mohammed,” just as little boys in Mexico are, or used to be, often named “Jesus.”  In a sane society, a parent would simply suggest that the bear’s name should be changed to “Ahmed,” and that would be the end of it.  But a sharia society is not a sane one.

November 29, 2:44 am | [comment link]
17. azusa wrote:

The precipitating action was an insult to teddy bears everywhere.

November 29, 4:53 am | [comment link]
18. R S Bunker wrote:

Ah yes, the religion of peace and tolerance.  H’mmm let me see, what is it about Islam (submission) that worries me…oh, yeah the same thing that worried me about the People’s Temple, the Branch Davidians and 815.


November 29, 9:24 am | [comment link]
19. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

Having spent some time in Muslim countries I would say that dolls or representations of real creatures are off-limits as images of God or his creation - this is why Islamic art turned to geometric shapes and mythical creatures.  The application of this name to such an image could be seen as concerning; in much the same way as our ancestors considered ‘graven images.’  So yes, one can see the root of the issue in Islam.

However in this case clearly there was no such intention and it was a matter of children playing and the teacher not having the local knowledge to steer clear of something that someone who had been there a time would have been sensitive to.  I pray that she is released promptly.

It also looks as if there were other more political reasons to do with the school and the fundamentalist military leaders of the country, along with some baggage from Sudan having been run by Britain and Egypt until 1956.

November 29, 10:59 am | [comment link]
20. chips wrote:

Just think about ++Nigeria - he has to face down these lunatics/barbarians on a daily basis.  TEC makes his battle much harder.  Americans need to understand that the war on terror is a war against barbarism - unfortuneatley Sharia is legalized state sanctioned barbarism.  At some points Westerners will have to understand that Sharia and Islamic fundamentalism does not sit well with their sacred cow of diversity.

November 29, 11:29 am | [comment link]
21. Br. Michael wrote:

20, they will understand it well enough when it is applied in Europe, but by then it will be too late.

November 29, 11:34 am | [comment link]
22. Jeffersonian wrote:

#21, I think Theo van Gogh understood.

November 29, 11:41 am | [comment link]
23. drjoan wrote:

Here is another interesting read about Islam in America.
It is a novel, very even-handed but eye-opening. 
To all those who say “The God of Islam is the same as the God of Christianity” I say: YOU need to learn more about the God of Christianity!!

November 29, 1:29 pm | [comment link]
24. RevK wrote:

Paul Berman wrote an insightful book TERROR AND LIBERALISM in which he contends that modern Islamofascism is just the latest movement to stand against Western Liberalism; and how the West is blind to these movements until it is too late to deal with them outside of war.  Some excerpts from the story:

“Terror and Liberalism” contends that Islamic fundamentalism and Saddam Hussein’s Baath socialism are morally, ideologically and historically continuous with the totalitarian movements of the 20th century; that fascism and communism both fed on liberals’ resistance to comprehending the irrational nature of those movements; and that the same blindness is rampant today.

Basic to this worldview, Berman notes, is the belief that people act rationally in their self-interest. It assumes that political conflict is about a clash of interests—about military power, or class struggle, or territory, or oil. When apocalyptic mass movements commit violence, it must be in response to grievances: exploitation by the rich, domination and humiliation by the powerful. Violence that makes no sense in those terms—if it’s aimed at random civilians, or Jews, or women who show their faces in the street; if it’s suicidal as well as murderous—only shows that its perpetrators are unhinged by oppression. In those circumstances, the irrational is rational. But totalitarian movements, Berman argues, do not fit this liberal calculus; they are wholly pathological, a nihilistic romance with death.

The entire review is at:

November 29, 9:09 pm | [comment link]
25. Harvey wrote:

Many decades ago a madman by the name of Adolph Hitler wrote a book whose title was Mein Kampf ( My Struggle ).  In this book he outlined his program for world domination that finally was overcome by WWII.  Let’s hope that the radical Islamics literature doesn’t outline a similar program.  The evil resulting from such a program bcoming reality could cause a war that might make WWII look like a child’s ficticious war game.  Dear Lord deliver us.

December 1, 6:22 pm | [comment link]
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