Burning issue in Sudan

Last September, Gillian Gibbons of Liverpool, England, a new teacher at the Unity High School, a private Christian-run school in Khartoum, Sudan that teaches both Christians and Muslims, was teaching her class of seven year olds about bears. She asked a girl to bring her teddy bear to class, and then asked the children to name it. They overwhelmingly chose the name Muhammad. The children in turn each brought the teddy bear home with them for a couple of days, and were assigned to write a diary about what they did with the teddy bear. The entries were collected in a book with a picture of the bear on the cover, next to the message “My name is Muhammad.”

For naming the teddy bear Muhammad, Gibbons has been arrested on a charge of blasphemy and faces a punishment of 40 lashes, young men have gathered outside the prison shouting death threats against her, and the director of the Unity school has closed it down until January to avoid reprisals.

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Calamitas writes from Germany:

What is happening to this poor woman is incredible, but even more incredible are the reactions to it. I did a Google News search last night for the last 24 hours and the words “innocent mistake” got 254 hits, including the article you quote (“Teachers at the school…said that Ms Gibbons had made an innocent mistake by letting her pupils choose their favourite name for the toy as part of a school project.”) and including shadow foreign secretary William Hague: “To condemn Gillian Gibbons to such brutal and barbaric punishment for what appears to be an innocent mistake is clearly unacceptable.”

The qualification “innocent” implies that she made not just an error of judgment of facts, namely not to consider the brutality, backwardness and barbarity of the society in which she chose to live, but an ethically wrong action proceeding from faulty judgment of an alien culture, for which the punishment is much too harsh, but *basically* justified.

The Mirror and BBC News even talk about an “over-reaction” by the Sudanese authorities.

The mind boggles at the sight of how far the brainwashing of the West has gone.

LA replies:

Yes, the West has accepted that if a woman named a teddy bear Muhammad knowing that it was against Islamic law she would deserve forty lashes. But since she wasn’t aware that this was a violation, she’s innocent. Even as we’ve dismantled all moral authority, even the most mild, in the West, we approve that brutal authority of Islam.

Why? We’ve given up the truths that made us what we are and so have become a void. Islam still has a truth (though a very debased and destructive one), and we allow it to fill up our void.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 27, 2007 10:41 AM | Send

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