Sudan's Muslims lash out at teddy bear name

AFP/Washington Times:

A British teacher in Sudan yesterday faced lashes and deportation as she languished in police custody, accused of insulting the Muslim prophet for allowing young children to name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Sudanese police arrested Gillian Gibbons in Khartoum on Sunday after parents complained that she allowed 6-year-old boys and girls at an expensive English school to name the bear, and so "insult" the prophet Muhammad.

The penalty carries the death sentence for Muslims in Sudan, where Islamic Shariah law is enforced in Khartoum and the north, but a non-Muslim could face a maximum penalty of lashes, prison, a fine and deportation if found guilty.

A shaken Ms. Gibbons, whom a British Embassy spokesman said yesterday had not yet been charged and who never intended that naming the bear would cause offense, was poised to spend a second night in police custody.

...

Sudanese officials yesterday closed the fee-paying, Christian-run Unity High School until further notice, one teacher told Agence France-Presse on the condition of anonymity.

...

This is another example of the idiocy of Shari'a law and why it should be banned. Other reports have indicated that this may have been a back door attempt to intimidate the school which had been in a dispute with the government over taxes, but if the school has been shut the government is unlikely to get any tax revenue from it. There is something wrong with the Muslim culture that they would want to inflict corporal punishment on a teacher for such an incident. This is just sick. It will lower respect for Islam around the world.

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