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British teacher in Sudan arrested after students name class teddy bear Mohammad

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Cruzan Donating Member (806 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:32 AM
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British teacher in Sudan arrested after students name class teddy bear Mohammad
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - A British teacher detained in Sudan after her class called a teddy bear Mohammad was charged on Wednesday with insulting Islam in a move that sparked a diplomatic row between London and Khartoum.

Gillian Gibbons, 54, was also charged with inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs, Sudanese official media said. If convicted, she could face 40 lashes, a fine, or one year in jail.

"Khartoum North prosecution unit has completed its investigation and has charged the Briton Gillian (Gibbons) under Article 125 of the criminal code," the Sudanese news agency SUNA said, quoting a senior Justice Ministry official.

In London, a British Foreign Office spokesman confirmed that Gibbons had been charged and officials said Foreign Secretary David Miliband was calling in the Sudanese ambassador over the affair.

"We are surprised and disappointed by this development and the foreign secretary will summon as a matter of urgency the Sudanese ambassador to discuss this matter further," Prime Minister Gordon Brown's official spokesman said.

The matter would go before a court on Thursday and Gibbons, who is from Liverpool, was expected to appear.

Fellow teachers said they did not believe Gibbons had intended to insult Islam and had made an innocent mistake in choosing the name.

Earlier on Wednesday, three British embassy officials and a teaching colleague from the Unity High School where Gibbons worked were allowed to visit her for more than 90 minutes.

"I can confirm that we have met Ms. Gibbons and she said she is being treated well," said British consul Russell Phillips. "We remain in close contact with the Sudanese authorities on this case," he said, declining to give further details.

Gibbons was arrested after some parents complained about the bear being named after the Prophet Mohammad.

Teachers at the school said Gibbons had asked her class of 7-year-olds to choose their favorite name for the bear, and 20 of the 23 had voted for Mohammad.

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BushOut06 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:34 AM
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1. They should punish those 7-yr olds as well
The nerve of those young whippersnappers. :sarcasm:
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DangerDave921 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:36 AM
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2. This is insane
I understand respect for other cultures and religions, but getting arrested and put in jail?!? All because your class named a teddy bear Mohammad? I think a polite note from the principal would have been sufficient to put the teacher on notice of her transgression (if it can even be called a transgression).




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