British teacher faces jail and 40 lashes for insulting Islam

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http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/africa/11/27/sudan.bears/

LONDON, England (CNN) -- UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Tuesday that officials were working to secure the early release of a British teacher who faces being whipped in Sudan after she allowed her class to name a teddy bear "Mohammed."
art.gillian.gibbons.jpg

An undated amateur photo of Gillian Gibbons.

Gillian Gibbons, 54, was arrested Sunday after she asked her class of seven-year-olds to come up with a name for the toy as part of a school project, her head teacher told CNN.

Robert Boulos, the head of Unity High School in the capital Khartoum, said naming the teddy bear was "a totally innocent mistake" and that Gibbons had never intended to cause offense.

He said Gibbons had asked the children to pick their favorite name for the new class mascot, which she was using to aid lessons about animals and their habitats.

Classmates took turns taking the teddy bear home with them, accompanied by a diary with the bear's name written in the front of it, Boulos said.

"All this is a very sensitive area. I asked her (Gibbons) why she had done it and she said she didn't chose the name, the children did," Boulos told CNN.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Tuesday he was "very sorry" about Gibbons' arrest and that the British embassy in Khartoum was "giving all appropriate consular assistance to her."

He said all efforts were being taken to ensure her early release and that government officials were in touch with the teacher's family in the northern British city of Liverpool.

The school teacher has been accused of blasphemy and is being held by police in Khartoum, Kirsty Saunders, British Foreign Office spokeswoman told CNN.

Although there is no ban in the Koran on images of Allah or the Prophet Mohammed, likenesses are considered highly offensive by Muslims.

Parents of students at the school informed the authorities and Gibbons was taken into custody Sunday, Saunders said.

So far Gibbons has yet to be charged with any offense, however, under Sudanese law, insulting Islam is punishable with 40 lashes, a jail term of up to six months or a fine, she said.

However, a Sudanese official told CNN that if police decided that Gibbons had acted in good faith, she would most likely be spared punishment.

"If the intentions are good, definitely she will be absolved and will be cautioned not to repeat this thing again," Mutrif Siddig, Sudan's under secretary for foreign affairs, said.

He added: "To give the name of Mohammed to this teddy bear, it was considered as insult by some parents. And this school is mixed. It is not all Christian students."

Saunders said that under Sudan's laws a person can be held for no more than 24 hours without charge.

Asked if British authorities were concerned that Gibbons had been held for longer than that time, she said "we are happy that all the correct procedures are being followed."

A Sudanese police source said officials had not finished questioning the teacher, who is being held at a facility of Sudan's criminal investigations directorate on the outskirts of Khartoum.

Gibbons had been working at the school -- popular with wealthy Sudanese and expatriates -- since August, after leaving her position as deputy headteacher at a primary school in Liverpool this summer.

On her entry on the social networking Web site MySpace, Gibbons wrote: "I am a teacher in a school in Khartoum, in Sudan. I like to make the most out of life."

According to the entry, she said her passion was travel and she was hoping to make the most of her time in Sudan by visiting nearby countries.

Gibbons was recruited to work in Sudan by QTS Worldwide, an education consultancy based in the northern county of West Yorkshire.

Eric Liddell, who runs QTS, refused to comment on the incident but said that he had spoken to members of the Unity High School staff, who were hopeful that the British teacher would be released.
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Separately, CNN contacted a member of staff, who confirmed the school had been shut down temporarily as a result of the incident involving Gibbons. He refused to give his name and said no other members of staff were available.

He said the school may open again soon, possibly as early as tomorrow
 
Jeez cant they lighten up abit. :(
 
They just get off on whipping the ladies. :o

Uh....you...ate that...apple in a way that displeases Allah.
SEIZE HER!
*erecting*
 
this topic was already covered like three days ago...

:down
 
i thought lashing people was outlawed since slavery.
 
Sexy! Whip that old lady........yeeowwwwwwww!

I hope she learns her lesson...get it? She's a Teacher!
 
Jeez cant they lighten up abit. :(

I think she's getting off easy...they could gang rape her and stone her to death...apparently that's tolerated there too. :whatever:

...So much for it being a belief in tolerance and peace.:csad:
 
:ninja: I posted a thread on this days ago and because I am known for my tolerant views where islam is concerned, noone considered it Muslim bashing........

:ninja: :ninja: :ninja: Amusing smiley?:wow:
 
this topic was already covered like three days ago...

:down

Before she was just arrested, now they are actully charging her. If I was Prime Minister I would send in the SAS on a covert mission to break into jail and bring her back. Then I would have the ones who arrested her assasinated.

Ain't like they could do anything their one of the poorest countries in the world. If they complain then we can topple their goverment and put in one we like american style, or we just nuke em.........you can see why I wouldn't last 5 minutes as prime minister :whatever:
 
Before she was just arrested, now they are actully charging her. If I was Prime Minister I would send in the SAS on a covert mission to break into jail and bring her back. Then I would have the ones who arrested her assasinated.

Ain't like they could do anything their one of the poorest countries in the world. If they complain then we can topple their goverment and put in one we like american style, or we just nuke em.........you can see why I wouldn't last 5 minutes as prime minister :whatever:

I think military action is a plan...

:ninja: :ninja: Why is this smiley particularly amusing in this thread?
 
I think military action is a plan...

:ninja: :ninja: Why is this smiley particularly amusing in this thread?

A bad plan that would probably end up in retaliation towards other Brits or westerners. Then again, the idea of nuking that useless ass country sounds pretty good too.

nuke.jpg
 
:ninja: I posted a thread on this days ago and because I am known for my tolerant views where islam is concerned, noone considered it Muslim bashing........

:ninja: :ninja: :ninja: Amusing smiley?:wow:

I give you the official, "WHILYSPLAT IS NOT A MUSLIM BASHER" Award.


On the Hype that is. :ninja:
 
I give you the official, "WHILYSPLAT IS NOT A MUSLIM BASHER" Award.


:ninja:

You're only doing that so you can have the glee and fun of retracting it from him later on, aren't you? :o

jag
 
You're only doing that so you can have the glee and fun of retracting it from him later on, aren't you? :o

jag

The carrot and the stick approach is an age old sure fire method, but couldn't you have P.M. me this instead, now he knows. :csad:
 
The carrot and the stick approach is an age old sure fire method, but couldn't you have P.M. me this instead, now he knows. :csad:

You can tell the scorpion that he is a scorpion but does that make him stop being a scorpion that does the things a scorpion does?

jag
 
Is that the same as, "Don't go into the light?"
 
More of a scorpion man aye?


A frog is preparing to cross a pond when a scorpion appears and pleas with him to take him across the pond on his back.

"If I did that, you would sting me halfway across the pond and we would both drown", said the frog.

"What would I have to gain by doing that? I would die along with you if I did that", replied the scorpion.

After much debate and reasoning back and forth, the frog agreed to carry the scorpion across the pond on his back. Halfway across the pond, the scorpion stung the frog. As they were both struggling against their inevitable, watery deaths, the frog said "Why did you sting me when you said that you would not, knowing that you would die, too?" The scorpion simply replied "I'm a scorpion. It's what I do."


jag
 
Before she was just arrested, now they are actully charging her. If I was Prime Minister I would send in the SAS on a covert mission to break into jail and bring her back. Then I would have the ones who arrested her assasinated.

Ain't like they could do anything their one of the poorest countries in the world. If they complain then we can topple their goverment and put in one we like american style, or we just nuke em.........you can see why I wouldn't last 5 minutes as prime minister :whatever:


But that's Muslim bashing. Stop that right now!! :whatever:
 

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