A British teacher was arrested for blasphemy in Sudan and could face up to 40 lashes for allowing her class of 7-year-olds to name a teddy bear Muhammad, the school said Monday.
Now the school staff is concerned for her safety.
Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, England, was arrested Sunday after several parents complained to Sudan’s Ministry of Education, Unity director Robert Boulos said.
He said Gibbons had allowed her class to vote on a name for the teddy bear.
“They came up with eight names including Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammad. Then she explained what it meant to vote and asked them to choose the name,” Boulos said.
The children chose Muhammad, a popular boy’s name in the Muslim world but also the named of Islam’s revered prophet.
“This was a completely innocent mistake. Miss Gibbons would have never wanted to insult Islam,” Boulos said.
I think this is what we call a “clash of civilizations”.
Boulos said the school had shut down until January for fear of reprisals.
Enter stage left: Islamic Rageboy and friends.
A spokesman for the British Embassy in Khartoum said embassy staff had visited Gibbons in jail.
“She is in good condition if unsurprisingly shaken up,” an embassy spokesman said.
I doubt they’ll actually go through with the 40 lashes, but whatever the outcome of her case, I suspect they’ve lost a decent, well-meaning teacher.
Oh, for crying out loud, Ace has it too?
Ms. Gibbons awaits a ruling today (Nov. 27) from a judge on whether she will be tried on the blasphemy charge.