Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Maybe a better person than I can understand this:

We're in the 21st century right?

Check this out.

For those of you who don't feel like clicking on the link, here is are a few excerpts from the article:

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Sudanese authorities began questioning a British teacher on Tuesday, one day after she was arrested for insulting Islam after her young students named a teddy bear "Mohammad."

...If convicted of insulting Islam, she could be sentenced to 40 lashes, six months in prison or a fine, lawyers said.

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

- MSNBC.com

Those of you who read my blog know my feelings about Islam and how unfairly I think Muslims are treated due to all of the negative media coverage out there. I have Muslim friends who are lovely, generous, friendly people and have always kept an open mind about our differing belief systems.

How can any person possibly justify whipping another human being for naming a teddy bear?! This teacher did absolutely nothing wrong - in fact, she encouraged her students to name the bear and went along with the popular vote. Now, because the parents of these kids have complained that naming a toy Mohammed is insulting Islam and their Prophet, this poor woman could be "lashed" or sent to jail.

The question I'd love to ask is: how do we even know that these kids were naming the bear for the Prophet Muhamed in the first place? Given that there are so many Muslims living in Sudan, there are a lot of people named Mohammed, so is it possible that maybe, just MAYBE, these children named the bear Mohammed because that is the name they consider most popular?

When I was growing up, Jennifer was a really popular name. Every girl in my class had a stuffed animal, doll, or other toy named Jenny. I think it's safe to say that no teacher or grown-up had forced us to like the name or use it to identify our toys...

This is the branch of Islam that I just don't understand. People being beheaded, whipped, having their hands chopped off, sent to jail, stoned, etc., for crimes against their religion. Yes, it's their culture and I have no right to make judgements, but I simply can't sit by and not comment on a British teacher being punished for allowing her 7 year old students to name a TOY.

I am so disgusted right now.

It's hard to believe that people can behave in such an archaic manner. Stories like that are the reason I hesitate to travel to such countries, which is sad because I'm sure they are well worth seeing...

The parents of these little kids are responsible for teaching their kids about right and wrong. It's their responsibility to ensure their children grow up to be good Muslims (and good people). Will they punish their kids for naming the bear after the Prophet? Or is this punishment meant solely for the teacher (who's religion remains unknown - but being British it's a definite possibility that she is a white Christian)?

Lots of questions are unanswered here, but one thing is definitely clear to me: if more people are going to learn to see Islam for the beautiful faith that it is, we need a lot more stories about the good things that come from it.


  • At 8:41 AM, Blogger Suldog said…


    I think much of the problem comes from the relative silence of "good" Islamic clerics when something like this occurs. If there were a strong sentiment of outrage expressed by some Muslims in leadership positions, the story might be different. Sadly, I've rarely seen any.

    This may be due to faulty news coverage; I certainly can't be positive that they're not speaking up.

  • At 10:44 AM, Blogger Melinda said…

    That's a very good point Sully. A Muslim friend of mine once said that many of them hesitate to speak out because of possibly violent reactions, but I don't know how many people she's talking about or if the ones who do speak up are ignored by the media as you suggest.

    It would be really nice to hear about the good things once in awhile...


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