Teacher charged over teddy row
The British teacher, Gillian Gibbons, has been charged in Sudan with insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs.As Jamie points out "what you have is a hostage taking by the Sudanese government, or factions thereof". Presumably for some internal political reasons? In any case we need to see some strong language from the government on this. Apart from anything else, this is a gift to bigots, which is, no doubt, why the Muslim Council were quick to condemn the actions of the Sudanese government. Having said that we musn't allow fear of being labelled a bigot prevent us from calling this what it is - intolerant, stupid, religiously-justified persecution of a decent and good woman. The statement from the 'moderate' SAU doesn't exactly inspire confidence:
The Muslim Council of Britain reacted angrily to the news, saying it was "appalled" and demanded Mrs Gibbons' immediate release. "This is a disgraceful decision and defies common sense. There was clearly no intention on the part of the teacher to deliberately insult the Islamic faith," said Secretary-General Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, in a strongly-worded statement. "We call upon the Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, to intervene in this case without delay to ensure that Ms Gibbons is freed from this quite shameful ordeal," said Dr Bari.
Earlier, the Sudanese Embassy in London said the situation was a "storm in a teacup" and signalled that the teacher could be released soon, attributing the incident to a cultural misunderstanding. But Sudan's top clerics have called for the full measure of the law to be used against Mrs Gibbons and labelled her actions part of a Western plot against Islam. "What has happened was not haphazard or carried out of ignorance, but rather a calculated action and another ring in the circles of plotting against Islam," the Sudanese Assembly of the Ulemas said in a statement. The semi-official clerics body is considered relatively moderate (sic) and is believed to have the ear of the Sudanese government.