Another hostage situation

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov. 26 — The Sudanese police arrested a British schoolteacher and accused her of insulting Islam after she allowed her 7-year-old pupils to name a class teddy bear Muhammad, Sudanese officials said today…

Ms. [Gillian] Gibbons is in jail, pending further investigation, [Government spokesman Dr. Rabie A. Atti] said. “If she is innocent, she will be set free,” said Dr. Rabie. If she is guilty, Dr. Rabie said, she will face punishment, possibly including lashes…

According to BBC, Ms. Gibbons, 54, asked a seven-year-old girl to bring in a teddy bear and for her classmates to pick a name for it…

When it came time to vote, 20 out of 23 children choose Muhammad, one of the most common names in the Muslim word.

The students then took turns bringing the bear home on weekends, and wrote a diary about what they did with it. According to the BBC, the children’s entries were bound together in a book with a picture of the bear on the cover and a message that read, “My name is Muhammad.” — NY Times

I’m prepared to bet that it will turn out that the unfortunate teacher will be released upon payment of a large ‘fine’, like the Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor held for 8 years in Libya (see The Barbary Pirates at the Security Council).

The fact that ‘respect for Islam’ is used as an excuse for political intimidation and sometimes outright extortion does not tend to make us non-Muslims feel a high regard towards Islam.

I would be pleased if some of my Muslim readers would take time off from trying to hack this site and would comment on this.

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