Unbearable

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A teddy bear found itself at the center of a religious furor.

And, yes, it's every bit as absurd as it sounds.

Gillian Gibbons is a 54-year-old British teacher at a private school in Khartoum, Sudan. Her pupils love her. Her colleagues can't say enough nice things about her.

And because of an innocent misunderstanding, she was sentenced to 15 days in prison and faces deportation.

Over a teddy bear -- named Muhammad.

Gibbons recently was teaching her class about animals, and asked a pupil to bring in her teddy bear. When Gibbons asked the class to name the bear, the names Abdullah and Hassan were tossed around before the class settled on the name Muhammad -- after a boy in the class.

Each child got to take the bear home on weekends, and kept diaries about what they did with it. The entries were compiled in a book, titled My Name is Muhammad, with the bear's picture on the cover.

Somehow Sudanese authorities got wind of this harmless school activity, and they slapped Gibbons with charges of insulting religion and inciting hatred.

This is despite the fact that the boy who lent his name to the bear leaped to his teacher's defense. His mother agrees: "I'm annoyed that this has escalated in this way. If it happened as he said, then there is no problem here -- it was not intended."

Of course it wasn't. She certainly didn't rub her hands together and think to herself, "How can I offend Islam today?"

That's what makes this whole episode overblown nonsense. Gibbons didn't do this on purpose. She didn't accept a teaching post in a Muslim country so she could hatch a plot against the country's dominant religion. She innocently named a bear Muhammad with no intent of causing outrage, but she has been pilloried needlessly as if supposedly sullying the name of Islam's prophet was her cunning plan all along.

Meanwhile, Christianity is disrespected intentionally, continually and willfully -- and the politically correct crowd doesn't bat an eye. Artists who submerge a crucifix in a glass of urine, or render the Virgin Mary in animal dung -- that's just another day at the office for those guys.

And how do Christians overwhelmingly deal with these gross affronts to their faith? With tolerance and nonviolent disagreement -- not with giving the artists 15 days in prison and deporting them.

It is this kind of ordeal in Sudan that shows precisely what the peace-loving world is up against in its continuing struggle against radical Islam. Extremists become so blinded by intolerance that they can't parse out the finer points of a simple misunderstanding.

"This is an arrogant woman who came to our country, cashing her salary in dollars, teaching our children hatred of our Prophet Muhammad," one protesting cleric said.

What? "Teaching our children hatred?" She named a stuffed bear at the urging of her loving pupils . And armed protesters took to the streets of Khartoum to call for her execution . Could there possibly be a more profound lack of perspective here?

Moderate Muslims who are more closely bound to the principles of peace and reconciliation should make themselves heard over this sorry state of affairs in Sudan. This beloved teacher deserved no punishment.

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HTN007
19
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HTN007 12/01/07 - 05:24 am
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So, if the bear was named

So, if the bear was named after a boy in the class, why not go after his mother, not the teacher, for naming her son Muhammad? I mean, if you want to pursue all of this logically, how can the use of the name of the "Prophet" be allowed in naming children without sullying him?

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 12/01/07 - 08:46 am
0
0
Here in America, of all

Here in America, of all places, we should understand people seeking out every opportunity to be insulted and blowing it into riots or civil disobedience of all kinds. Unreasonable reaction to unintended and un-implied insult has been the rule, not the exception, since the mid '60s. The radical Islamists would fit in our culture with this type of reaction. Imagine the reaction if the bear had been named Jesus, after a famous Mexican educator.

mgroothand
5
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mgroothand 12/01/07 - 09:52 am
0
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This is just further proof

This is just further proof that there is no way to try and reason with Islamists in any fashion known to Western society. I'm glad only 10% of Islamic people are Islamofascists. That's only 150 million people!

gcap
290
Points
gcap 12/01/07 - 12:06 pm
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0
If Ms. Gibbons is released

If Ms. Gibbons is released from prison (and that's a big IF), she should get out of Sudan as fast as she can. And all other civilized (western) countries should withdraw all support of that "government." Maybe such a society as Sudan can self-destruct and start over. No outsiders will ever prevent the murder and corruption that has pervaded that country for decades. From a Christian perspective, recall the bible verses where some disciples were trying very hard to save a few. The few wouldn't hear of it. Jesus said to go into the willing world to save many. Forget about Sudan. Go to where the people are willing to improve.

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 12/01/07 - 12:11 pm
0
0
All religion is crazy. It's
Unpublished

All religion is crazy. It's just a matter of degrees.

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 12/01/07 - 01:24 pm
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0
All without a relationship

All without a relationship with God are crazy. It's just a matter of degrees. Hee, hee. It is interesting how Islam, a religion, tries to win favor with their god,Allah, by deeds. Even their "hell",more like purgatory, is only transient till you can work your way into paradise. In Christianity, all God wants is a relationship and no deeds or works can win you any favors. All you have to do is accept his son, Christ, as your Lord and Savior. From then on God does all the work. Note also how part of Islam is government, in contrast Christianity keeps separate from government (although it has and does have influence). Iran does much the same persecuting scientist, educators, artists, etc. in the name of Islam.

mgroothand
5
Points
mgroothand 12/01/07 - 01:58 pm
0
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Sudan gets almost two billion

Sudan gets almost two billion dollars in foreign aid, a large percentage is from (you guessed it) the USA. British officials are threatening to cut off their portion of aid and recalling their ambassador while the mullahs there are egging on the faithful to demand the execution of Ms. Gibbons. Ah, that religion of peace and we must do something to improve our image in the Muslim world.

HTN007
19
Points
HTN007 12/01/07 - 02:31 pm
0
0
"I'm glad only 10% of Islamic

"I'm glad only 10% of Islamic people are Islamofascists".....maybe so, but what percent of the remaining 90% "moderates" are truly moderates and won't transition to a radical position given the right circumstances? Remember all the "moderate" Palestinians who were dancing in the street just after 9-11?

Fiat_Lux
15901
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/01/07 - 02:37 pm
0
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The most incredible part of

The most incredible part of this whole, dangerous farce is that this well-meaning, generous teacher was charged and convicted of "inciting religious hatred". It sure wasn't HER actions that caused a bump in my own antipathy toward Islam and incited religious hatred around the civilized world. I hate that it is so, but despite the fact that I personally know very good, gentle people who are Muslims, this outrageous and savage response to an unintentional, innocent mistake needs to cost the Sudanese in a very big and painful way. Only animals, the very young, the mentally retarded and the exceedingly primitive are unable to comprehend "unintentional" and "mistake", mainly because nothing outside of themselves has any importance. This crowd doesn't make it to even a slightly reasonable level of civilization. The whole mess is sickening.

Fiat_Lux
15901
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/01/07 - 02:44 pm
0
0
Islamofascists like these

Islamofascists like these Sudanese are every bit as dangerous to our world as the Nazis ever were. It's worth remembering that both those threats to civilizations hate Jews and would kill all of them if they could. I wonder if our generation will respond with anything like the courage and resolve that "the greatest generation" did.

Carleton Duvall
6305
Points
Carleton Duvall 12/01/07 - 03:21 pm
0
0
There are two chances of that

There are two chances of that happening, Fiat_Lux. They are (1) Slim and (2) None

mgroothand
5
Points
mgroothand 12/01/07 - 03:24 pm
0
0
Fiat_Lux: the only problem is

Fiat_Lux: the only problem is there are a whole lot more Islamofascists then there were ever Nazis.

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