I haven’t said much about Gillian Gibbons, the unfortunate schoolteacher from Britain who fell afoul of religious fundamentalism in Sudan when she did a class exercise in which her class picked a name for a Teddy Bear. Unfortunately, the name the children picked was Mohammed. Because of Islamic proscriptions against making an “image” of Mohammed, she was arrested for “inciting religious hatred,” in what has to be one of the most idiotic consequences of extreme religious belief that I’ve seen. She could have received a sentence of 40 lashes but was “only” sentenced to 15 days–in a hellish Sudanese jail. You’d think that would be enough for the fanatics.
Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied Friday in a central square and demanded the execution of a British teacher convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear “Muhammad.”
The protesters streamed out of mosques after Friday sermons, as pickup trucks with loudspeakers blared messages against Gillian Gibbons, the teacher who was sentenced Thursday to 15 days in prison and deportation.
They massed in central Martyrs Square, outside the presidential palace, where hundreds of riot police were deployed, although they did not attempt to stop the rally.
“Shame, shame on the U.K.,” protesters chanted.
They called for Gibbons’ execution, saying, “No tolerance: Execution,” and “Kill her, kill her by firing squad.”
And I’m supposed to “respect” the religious beliefs of fanatics who want to execute a woman for letting children give a name to a Teddy Bear that happens to be the name of their Prophet exactly…why?