November 27, 2007

English teacher in Sudan faces 40 lashes for letting students call the teddy bear Muhammad.

It's considered blasphemy.

Of course, I'm opposed to whipping as a punishment, but it seems to me that if you go to a foreign country to teach people's children, you have a responsibility to learn the deep beliefs of the culture you've entered and to adapt to it. Think of a foreign teacher coming to the United States to teach in our public schools. We would expect her to refrain from from leading the students in a prayer, and she would be sanctioned if she didn't comply. People in other countries might think, what is wrong with these Americans? All the teacher did was say a harmless, voluntary nonsectarian prayer.

Now, if the police burst into the classroom and tasered her [this hypothetical American teacher], there'd be cause to complain. The problem in this Sudan case is the punishment not what is considered an offense. In fact, even in the United States, I think a teacher should refrain from calling a teddy bear Muhammad. The practice of avoiding offense to religion in public school is not a violation of the principle of separating religion and state or the right to free speech.

I'm not talking about the more general problem raised by criminalizing "blasphemy." Clearly, that violates principles of free speech and separating religion and state. This case concerns a teacher who is trusted with the education of children. It is no answer that the children got the idea of naming the bear "Muhammad." The teacher is obligated to guide them. Think how you'd feel if your child's classroom had a teddy bear named "Shithead," and the explanation was that the kids named it.

CORRECTION: The heading to this post originally had that the woman was "sentenced" to 40 lashes. She has been arrested and faces that sentence. One hopes that the outcry against this will spare her.

116 comments:

bill said...

In fact, even in the United States, I think a teacher should refrain from calling a teddy bear Muhammad.

Even if its last name is Ali? My daughter's class has a Muhammad and a Jesus. Should the teacher refrain from calling on either of them to avoid offending religion?

Religious names aren't exactly scatalogical, so I don't understand your comparison.

Yachira said...

"Think how you'd feel if your child's classroom had a teddy bear named "Shithead," and the explanation was that the kids named it."

Or think you'd feel if the teacher in your child's middle-school classroom was handing out condoms, dental dams, and general info on sex and birth control.

MadisonMan said...

The bear was named Muhammad, not the Prophet Muhammad. Is Muhammad as a name forbidden in Sudan? If it's not, the teacher's job to remain inoffensive got much harder.

AF said...

Now, if the police burst into the classroom and tasered her, there'd be cause to complain. The problem in this Sudan case is the punishment not what is considered an offense.

The problem isn't just the specific type of punishment, but also the fact that it was criminal punishment. I would have a big problem with a teacher being sent to jail (even for a day, and with due process) for leading students in prayer or naming a bear "Shithead."

ricpic said...

In fact, even in the United States, I think a teacher should refrain from calling a teddy bear Muhammad.

Dhimmihouse.

Pogo said...

Silly woman.
All she needed to do was grab some dung and make the Virgin Mary out of it, and everything would have been cool.

At least until the Christofascist godbags figure out that only violence gains respect from the anti-religious.

George said...

Muhammad is one of the most common, if not the most common boys' names, in the Arab world.

The story doesn't say, but she was probably teaching ex-pat kids. For all they knew they were naming a teddy bear Joe.

Professor, Sudan is run by religious fanatics who are possibly at the mercy of even more fanatical adherents to Islam whom the government cannot control and is thus kowtowing to.

The teacher has also run afoul of the puritannical Muslim taboo against any form of "idolatry" which includes things like dolls of any sort. There's also an injunction against any sort of depiction of Muhammad. She's also guilty of TWBAW...teaching while being a woman.

You write that if you live in another country "you have a responsibility to learn the deep beliefs of the culture you've entered and to adapt to it." You cannot adapt to the views of fanatical zealots who are constantly trying to outdo each other's puritanicalism. Would you agree that someone living in, say, Saudi Arabia should adapt to that country's "deep beliefs" and not own a Bible and not meet with other Christians to worship? Both are illegal. If you're an American there, no worries. You get caught...a slap on the wrist. If you're, say, Ethiopian, you'd be imprisoned and tortured. So...just adapt....

No, thank you.

What if you own a book in Saudi Arabia that has a Star of David on the cover, say, a paperback thriller? If you're an American "caught" with that book, the book is merely confiscated. If you're from the Third World, big trouble, maybe.

If this were 1740, would you say that pioneers on the frontier should "adapt" to Indian ways and accept Indians' kidnapping of children as a normal way of life?

We are the civilized people, not Stone Age thugs in Sudan.

AllenS said...

"Now, if the police burst into the classroom and tasered her, there'd be cause to complain."

This woman is going to receive 60 lashes. What part of that don't you understand.

former law student said...

Yes, she probably had a classroom full of Muhammads, Mahmouds, etc. Naming a boy bear the most common boy's name in the world wouldn't seem to be offensive on the face of it. There might be a general prohibition against giving animals human names, however.

rhhardin said...

Think how you'd feel if your child's classroom had a teddy bear named "Shithead," and the explanation was that the kids named it.

Catch-22 prepares for the parade

. . . Lieutenant Scheisskopf's first thought had been to have a friend of his in the sheet metal shop sink pegs of nickel alloy into each man's thighbones and link them to the wrists by strands of copper wire with exactly three inches of play, but there wasn't time--there was never enough time--and good copper wire was hard to come by in war-time . . .

. . . And all week long he chortled with repressed delight at the officers'club. Speculation grew rampant among his closest friends.

"I wonder what Shithead is up to," Lieutenant Engle said.

JSinger said...

Of course, I'm opposed to whipping as a punishment, but it seems to me that if you go to a foreign country to teach people's children, you have a responsibility to learn the deep beliefs of the culture you've entered and to adapt to it

1) It's not clear that this is a "deep belief", as opposed to something that some extremists have decided to whip up a fuss over. Certainly it's not a "deep belief" of the kids.

2) Given a choice between tasering and 10 lashes I'd take the taser, let alone the (very possibly fatal) 60 she's facing.

Bob said...

A woman is going to be flogged for naming a stuffed animal after a religious figure, and you find a way to blame her for it?

Oooookay......

Michael Reynolds said...

So Althouse endorses the most extreme example of political correctness? Interesting.

This is utter nonsense. You might as well argue that torture, or female genital mutilation, or racial discrimination are local practices and we should accept them, even help to enforce them. The fact that an evil act is also a local custom does not suggest that we should accept it.

Using the power of the state to enforce the standards of one religion on everyone, is wrong. It doesn't stop being wrong because it's a local custom.

rhhardin said...

The reaction, by the way, is ``enough of this 3rd century crap. What's wrong with you people?''

Those are the limits of cultural respect, brought on by the West's gift to the world, of human rights as as if a priori rights.

A rational discipline, born in Europe, could broaden out and be available to all humanity. Into a world that until then was felt to be doomed to an arbitrary play of forces that (natural or supposedly supernatural, individual and social) only counted in proprotion to their power, in the obstinacy that Beings and institutions invest in persevering in their being and their traditions - there came the a priori of the rights of man understood as intellectual a priori, and becoming in fact the measure of all law.

Levinas, ``The Rights of Man and the Rights of the Other", _Outside the Subject_, p.119

A very short and insightful essay. The rights of man are originally concern for the rights of the other guy, he argues ; which concern makes you unique and irreplaceable for the first time.

Which then gets legalized back into a contest of wills in the modern world.

elliot said...

Really?

Really?

Ann Althouse said...

George: "You cannot adapt to the views of fanatical zealots who are constantly trying to outdo each other's puritanicalism."

Then don't go there and take a job as a teacher! If you want to go to a foreign country and revolutionize it and you know it's extremely repressive, you have to expect to be treated harshly.

bill said..."'In fact, even in the United States, I think a teacher should refrain from calling a teddy bear Muhammad.' Even if its last name is Ali? My daughter's class has a Muhammad and a Jesus. Should the teacher refrain from calling on either of them to avoid offending religion?"

If you want to understand Muslims, you've got to figure out why it's seen as a good thing to name a human being Muhammad, but not a good thing to name a stuffed animal Muhammad. It's not for me to explain that distinction. But I'm able to see it. Of course, you can have your opinions about the incoherencies in other people's religions, but it's their religion, and the distinction is obviously important to them. You want to mock them for making a particular distinction? Fine, but it's going to offend, and a good teacher shouldn't want to do that. You don't see American teachers needling schoolkids about what they think are religious inconsistencies.

Now, if there were 2 Muslim sects, and one thought it was great to name a person Muhammad and the other thought it was a terrible sin, and the classroom had students of both sorts, and the question was: can the teacher call a student named Muhammad by his name, that would be different!

And, look, I didn't say she had to "adapt" to it in the sense of believing the religion herself, only that she had to do her teaching job in a way that coordinated with parents' ideas of how to raise children. She doesn't have to do the job.

Personally, I'd stay out of repressive countries. I wouldn't even go as a tourist, and I sure wouldn't take a job there. I love freedom, but when you take a job with other people's children, you've made a commitment and have many heavy responsibilities.

hjenny said...

The problem I have taking Ms Althouse seriously as a law writer is that she doesn't seem to understand as basic a concept as the difference between "arrested" and "convicted". Every news story I've read to date (27.Nov.07 16:19 UTC) says that the teacher's been arrested, and that she faces various punishments, including 40 (not 60) lashes, if convicted. So once Ms Althouse got that wrong in the headline, it was hard to concede her much credibility thereafter.

Jennifer said...

Are y'all reading the same post I'm reading?

The problem in this Sudan case is the punishment not what is considered an offense.

Seems like a logical thesis not inconsistent with most of your "counter-arguments".

Meade said...

"Ms Gibbons was a deputy headteacher at Liverpool's Dovecot Primary School from 2002 to this July when she left for Sudan."

Without, apparently, carefully researching the laws of the country she left for. It isn't about political correctness, it's about legal correctness. Come to this country and try teaching our children that becoming a suicide bomber is a worthwhile pursuit and we'll probably waterboard your ass.

jimbino said...

If the school were a private school in Amerika, the kids could call the bear Teddy, Jesus, Muhammed or Shithead and if the parents didn't like it they could pull their kids out.

But parents such as scientists and atheists who might wish to teach their kids the lessons of liberty from an early age would conceivably censure a teacher who punished kids for mere speech.

The real problem here, as well as in the barbaric muslim countries, is that the government is involved in "education" at all. Privatize and liberate!

Fen said...

There might be a general prohibition against giving animals human names, however

Yah, I guess we should all study our Sharia Law a bit more carefully. For example, its probably not wise for a visiting American gay couple to hold hands in Marseilles. Hell, it may not even be safe for a hetero couple.

paul a'barge said...

Jimbino said: ...If the school were a private school in Amerika, the kids could...

I don't know about anyone else Jim, but I'm not about to pay any attention to the rants about education when those rants come from someone who can't correctly spell America with a "c".

Bender said...

So, calling a stuffed bear Muhammed is religiously offensive, but calling it a teddy bear is OK?

For anyone who is interested, the name Teddy is short for Theodore, which is derived from the Greek for "gift of God." (Theo = God; dore = gift)

By the way, Muhammed is not Allah, so use of his name is in no way blasphemy (which means using God's name disrespectfully). It seems to me that calling a stuffed bear Teddy would be far more offensive and truly blasphemous.

Yachira said...

Meade says, "Come to this country and try teaching our children that becoming a suicide bomber is a worthwhile pursuit and we'll probably waterboard your ass."

The heck we would! We'd be much more likely to celebrate the "diversity" of your classroom teachings and, perhaps, elect you to the ACLU's board of directors.

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry about the word "sentenced" in the headline. Corrected and noted as corrected.

NOTE TO BANNED COMMENTERS: DO NOT POST. POSTING IS HARASSMENT.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meade said...

That's what I meant, Yachira -- we'll elect your ass to the ACLU's waterboard of directors. ;-]
Torture.

Joshua said...

Then don't go there and take a job as a teacher! If you want to go to a foreign country and revolutionize it and you know it's extremely repressive, you have to expect to be treated harshly.

Also, don't go into a dangerous area of town at night if you're a woman. If you want to go to a seedy area and you know it's extremely dangerous, you have to expect to be raped.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"In fact, even in the United States, I think a teacher should refrain from calling a teddy bear Muhammad"

Why?

Fen said...

Also, don't go into a dangerous area of town at night if you're a woman. If you want to go to a seedy area and you know it's extremely dangerous, you have to expect to be raped.

And a sidenote to any of our "liberal" friends planning to worship Paris this year - these are the 751 areas of France you should avoid until you grasp all the complexities of Sharia Law:

http://i.ville.gouv.fr/divbib/doc/chercherZUS.htm

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

AllenS :"'Now, if the police burst into the classroom and tasered her, there'd be cause to complain.' This woman is going to receive 60 lashes. What part of that don't you understand."

Well, you didn't understand that "if the police burst into the classroom and tasered her" referred to the hypothetical American teacher. I'm presenting an American parallel to help you think about the problem, which I contend is in the punishment, not in the limitation on the teacher's expression in the classroom.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Trooper, my apologies to your momma, but boy, you just ain't right.

The Pinnochio bit is an instant classic!

Fen said...

Keep Your Head, Tip #51: Leave your Piggy Bank back in the US.

Avoid offending radical Islam, and they will leave you alone... just ask Hollywood's writers guild.

Ann Althouse said...

dust bunny queen said..."'In fact, even in the United States, I think a teacher should refrain from calling a teddy bear Muhammad' Why?"

Because it burdens some students in a wholly unnecessary way. Schools should do what they can to make the place welcoming and comfortable to all students and parents. When there is no educational value at stake, it is a purely gratuitous offense. It should be avoided. I wouldn't punish the teacher who unwittingly offends, but I think it's important to learn about the different cultures of the students who attend the school and to work to create a positive, supportive environment.

Joshua: "Also, don't go into a dangerous area of town at night if you're a woman. If you want to go to a seedy area and you know it's extremely dangerous, you have to expect to be raped."

You have to be aware of the dangerous around you. I don't see how this is parallel to the problem under discussion, but your remark seems to reflect the common mistake of thinking that a rapist has a defense and the issue of whether women should take defensive steps for their own protection. What are you trying to say? If you're posing a hypothetical and making a parallel to the case under discussion, you've got to make it much sharper. You're just throwing out a sarcastic remark, and it doesn't connect up at all. I'm calling you on it. You can do a rewrite, Joshua, but if you don't, I'm giving you an F.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

I don't understand the issue. The woman broke a law, not a custom. Is that law in complaince with Western standards? Hell no.

But she is no longer in the West; our standards don't matter.

Should she be lashed for her crime? I don't think so; deported yes, lashed, no.

Sudan will probably see the light on this issue and convict her (as they should if she violated their laws) and deport her back home instead of giving her the whip.

The other issue Ann raised, the naming of a bear in an American classroom after Muhammad- I need to dissent. There should be nothing wrong with naming a classroom mascot after anybody in the USA. I am assuming Ann that you are using the Establishment of religion as a basis for your opinion, and not the affronting of devout Moslems and the Mideast instead?

Either way I see no reason to avoid the name Muhammad; I am just curious on your reasoning.

Fen said...

Ann: but your remark seems to reflect the common mistake of thinking that a rapist has a defense

I think his [sarcastic] remark was meant to imply you are extending the "rapist defense" to Islam. Aren't you?

jeff said...

Trooper, I'm torn between the appreciation of the bear and barbie going into the water, and repulsed by Ted Kennedy linked in any conceivable way to Teddy Roosevelt. Quite the dilemma I find myself in.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jeff said...

"but your remark seems to reflect the common mistake of thinking that a rapist has a defense and the issue of whether women should take defensive steps for their own protection."


Joshua seemed pretty clear. Sort of sounds like you might be using Lucy logic in analyzing his comment.

Joshua said...

Jeff and Fen see the connection. I never suggested anywhere that a rapist has "a defense", btw. If you want to argue my analogy is inapt, you'll have to make it much sharper. Otherwise I'm giving you an F.

Ann Althouse said...

Joshua, did you have a point? If so, you need to make it. You tried the sarcastic remark, but it doesn't connect to the problem under discussion. I'm saying you need to spell it out so it's subject to critique. If you don't, I think it's because you can't, and that's the reason I'm giving you an F. Why are you giving me an F? I'm giving you another F for giving me an F if you can't give a coherent reason.

And you haven't made an analogy. State what the analogy is explicitly. I think you have an analogy in mind, but you're refraining from spelling it out and it is therefore not available for critique.

I don't care if there are some other commenters who respond positively to your sarcasm. They are already on your side. You need to make your point in a way that is subject to critique by those on the other side. So don't just give me a smartass comeback. Spell it out.

Alan, Esq. said...

Sudan is committing genocide as we speak and this is what we are concentrated on?

Richard Fagin said...

Trooper, I thought Boo Boo wanted to change his name to Cassius Clay.

At least partly in response to Prof. Althouse's point, how does one respect cultural sensitivities concerning what is an offense while not respecting the punshment that same society metes out for the offense? Either way that implies using one's own cultural sensitivities to decide what is and is not just punishment for a particular offense. It is an open question whether the Sudanese deserve any cultural respect at all. If we've already made the moral judgment that female genital mutilation, etc. is not acceptable, what's the purpose of respecting the rest of the cultural garbage that goes with it?

kimsch said...

Trooper: Boo Boo would say "pic-i-nic" basket...

Trooper York said...

Sorry. Thanks for the tip.

Hoosier Daddy said...

“….if you live in another country "you have a responsibility to learn the deep beliefs of the culture you've entered and to adapt to it."

Oh that’s funny. I mean that is really, really funny cause if I tell some immigrant who comes to the US to do that I’m a racist, bigot, xenophobe (insert other ad hom here).

But on the other hand, no one should really get too worked up over this as it is simply yet another example of the rich, vibrant tapestry of another culture which we should all celebrate.

jeff said...

"I don't care if there are some other commenters who respond positively to your sarcasm. They are already on your side. "

Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. I have no idea who Joshua is. I am not sure what "already on your side" is supposed to mean.


Your statement:
"Then don't go there and take a job as a teacher! If you want to go to a foreign country and revolutionize it and you know it's extremely repressive, you have to expect to be treated harshly. "

And his statement:
"Also, don't go into a dangerous area of town at night if you're a woman. If you want to go to a seedy area and you know it's extremely dangerous, you have to expect to be raped."

Are essentially conveying the same message.

If you're going to a repressive country (or the dangerous area of town) you should expect to be treated harshly (be raped).

Both comments shift at least some of the blame on the victim for putting themselves in a area where bad things happen, which takes away some of the blame for the lunatics who make up things that are not in the Koran and the rapists who prey on the week.
The difference is that most of us are not willing to remove any of the blame from the rapist.

On of the things I like about this blog is you normally don't have to explain things in such detail (not including usual suspects)

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jeff said...

week = weak.

former law student said...

Fagin, try this on for size: It is an open question whether the Americans deserve any cultural respect at all. If we've already made the moral judgment that the death penalty, etc. is not acceptable, what's the purpose of respecting the rest of the cultural garbage that goes with it?

George said...

Professor--

She was not trying to "revolutionize" the Sudan. She was innocently trying to amuse little children.

For that she may have the flesh ripped from her back. Is life so dear or peace so sweet that we purchase it at the price of chains and slavery?

In the face of barbarian cruelty, it is impossible for any expatriate elementary school marm to predict what may or may not be incorrect behavior.

Our survival has for 400 years depended upon the expansion of liberty and commerce. Back then, though, the savages couldn't nuke Williamsburg. (Remember, the Sudan is where bin Laden lived before he went to Afghanistan.)

Today: One world, one people. The frontier is where you sit today. The bell is ringing, ringing for us all.

Joshua said...

I'm giving you an F for missing the obvious point.

Jeff spelled it out so I don't need to. Maybe he can be your tutor.

P. Rich said...

"you have a responsibility to learn the deep beliefs of the culture you've entered and to adapt to it"

It seems to me, just thinking about it superficially, that an informed, modern society should be tolerant of visitors and not vice versa. Backward Islamic societies, on the other hand, can literally manufacture an offense du jour (and associated punishment) by virtue of a "religious leader" so declaring one. It doesn't have to be "on the books", as the only book is the rambling, inconsistent Koran and its many conflicting interpretations. Think arbitrary. Good luck conforming, as stated conditions make that impossible.

Hoosier Daddy said...

It is an open question whether the Sudanese deserve any cultural respect at all. If we've already made the moral judgment that female genital mutilation, etc. is not acceptable, what's the purpose of respecting the rest of the cultural garbage that goes with it?

Well that is the real issue isn’t it? Personally, I think most of the Muslim world hasn’t evolved beyond the 11th century, politically or socially. Nations that mete out mutilation and lashing as punishments should simply be considered pariah states and shunned. The problem is there is so much self loathing in the West is that many simply cannot bring themselves to criticize for fear of being accused of racism.
But here is a question for Ann. How about the Saudi woman who was gang raped and is sentenced to 200 lashes? Heck she knew the laws quite well about going out without a male relative so does she have it coming to her as well?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Fagin, try this on for size: It is an open question whether the Americans deserve any cultural respect at all. If we've already made the moral judgment that the death penalty, etc. is not acceptable, what's the purpose of respecting the rest of the cultural garbage that goes with it?

Heh...female genital mutlation and lashings for blasphemy versus executing mudrerers. Leftist moral equivalency knows no boundries.

Fen said...

It is an open question whether the Americans deserve any cultural respect at all.

Certainly. Just look at all the "poison" Hollywood spews around the world. Surely we deserve to be "raped" for it.

/s

Lets get it out the way - play tu quoque and draw false equivalence between the US and Sudan:

Islamic Sudan does horrible things
But America also does horrible things
So Sudan is excused

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Schools should do what they can to make the place welcoming and comfortable to all students and parents. When there is no educational value at stake, it is a purely gratuitous offense. It should be avoided. I wouldn't punish the teacher who unwittingly offends, but I think it's important to learn about the different cultures of the students who attend the school and to work to create a positive, supportive environment."

Does this concept, welcoming and comfortable, extend to schools in the US where the majority of students are from non-urban and predominantly Christian demographics and are force fed homosexual rights agendas, sex education against the parents wishes, given instructions on how to put condoms on cucumbers, forbidden to have Christmas decorations, to acknowledge Easter and indoctrinated by the teachers in the elementary grades in political correctness and on teacher's union issues?

This is the condition of schools where I'm at. This is also why "public" school enrollment has dropped by over 30% in the last couple of years to be picked up mostly by charter schools.

I agree that the teacher in this instance should have been aware of the Islamic feelings and laws, in a foreign country, about representations of Muhammed.. even with a stuffed bear.

In the name of political correctness and multi cultural sensitivity (two phrases that make me want to hurl) we have taken away the rights of the majority of citizens, in this country, to enjoy their own cultural traditions.

I'm not offended by acknowledging that other religions and cultures have their own holidays and traditions. Why should others in the United States(Atheists, Hindu's, Muslims, Jews, Hispanics, etc) be offended by the sight of a Christmas tree, the Easter Bunny and then dictate that those traditions be abolished?

Ah the culture of the perpetually offended. There is a local offical who just recently decided that the mere sight of Santa Claus would be so traumatic in an office cubicle or lobby in a County building that she has banned decorations for Christmas (oh wait she banned that term too) that include Santa, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Elfs, not to mention Angels, Wise Men or God Forbid, representations of Jesus. All this in the name of Quote!!!"the county's goals of creating an inclusive environment, especially for offices that serve the public"

Perhaps this idea: that when in a foreign country we play by the rules of that culture, should be a two way street for those who come the the US (as well as those who have lived here for generations.)

Immigrants should respect the traditions and societal rules 'here' instead of demanding we accomodate them. (Re: the taxi drivers in your home state who refuse to take on passengers who have alcohol or dogs. Who insist that at public expense we install ritual foot baths. Who demand that we not show certain cartoons or they will burn down buildings. so on and so on)

As to schools, mabye they should stick to things that do have educational value. If the perpetually offended are going to eliminate one portion of society's traditions, then I propose we eliminate ALL traditions in school and stick only to teaching the subjects that students need to make a living.

In the name of cultural diversity and not offending anyone, anywhere, anytime, (hurl) we will have made a completely sterile environment.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Ooops... I take back the Hispanics being offended by Christmas remark. They are more deeply dedicated to that tradition than many others. Instead I substitute the refusal of young Hispanics to stand up for the National Anthem at their own high school games because.... as I was told personally.... "it isn't their country".

Zeb Quinn said...

Consider that perhaps the 60 lashes is part of the vaunted and beautiful multi-cultural experience we've heard tale about and is the altar which we are supposed to genuflect before in our abject western ignorance. In that sense maybe they are doing her a favor by including her and allowing her to participate in this religious experience.

Fen said...

Echo what DBQ said Ann.

I intented to respond similarly to your comment Schools should do... supportive environment, but dbq said it better than I could have.

Lawgiver said...

Hoosier Daddy said,

Oh that’s funny. I mean that is really, really funny cause if I tell some immigrant who comes to the US to (adapt) I’m a racist, bigot, xenophobe (insert other ad hom here).

It feels that way doesn't it?

Fifteen years ago I taught 4th grade in a small Texas town. Once I had a substitute teacher, an engineering student from the local university. He was a recent immigrant of Iranian descent who needed some extra cash to fund his education. When I got back to school the next day the kids told me he had been cursing a lot. I informed the principal who talked to the young man. It seems he had learned most of his English from TV and was actually telling the kids what a great F***ing country we live in and about all the shit he had been through. He never subbed for us again and I bet there are many who thought we were bigots for not allowing him to work.

chuckR said...

Pardon me if someone else commented on the import of the last three sentences of the linked account. Short summary - possibly a crime for a British (Christian?) woman, possibly not for a Sudanese Muslim. You can respect someone's cultural preferences, but how can you respect or even anticipate that sort of arbitrariness? What deep beliefs are embodied within?

Yet another reason not to take any cultural cues from genocidal primitives who probably can't distinguish between a soup tureen and a toilet bowl.

Ann Althouse said...

Can anyone explain to me why anyone reads my post to mean that I support the lashing? Come on!

DBQ: "Does this concept, welcoming and comfortable, extend to schools in the US where the majority of students are from non-urban and predominantly Christian demographics and are force fed homosexual rights agendas, sex education against the parents wishes, given instructions on how to put condoms on cucumbers, forbidden to have Christmas decorations, to acknowledge Easter and indoctrinated by the teachers in the elementary grades in political correctness and on teacher's union issues?"

Of course the same values apply. On the question of sex education, there is an interest on the education side that has to be balanced. As for holiday decorations, the key is making an environment welcoming for all students, so I'd want to know exactly what you would do here. You shouldn't favor one religion over another or have any religious rituals at the school.

I think the fear of offending could make the schools overdo the elimination of everything pertaining to holiday traditions. I don't think religion should be treated in a hostile way.

"Perhaps this idea: that when in a foreign country we play by the rules of that culture, should be a two way street for those who come the the US (as well as those who have lived here for generations.)"

I think our culture is to be welcoming to the different religious traditions and to make a public space where we can live together without religious strife.

"Immigrants should respect the traditions and societal rules 'here' instead of demanding we accomodate them."

We're all in the immigrant tradition here. The American tradition is diversity.

Trooper York said...

Geppetto: Pinocchio, there is a woman here to see you. She said her name is Maxine and she wants to take you shopping.
Pinocchio: Oh no, papa hide me. She is a terrible, terrible woman who kept me captive for six months.
Geppetto: What did she do that was so terrible.
Pinocchio: Well, she would sit on my face and make me read Barry Bonds grand jury testimony.
Geppetto: Well I could see how she could enjoy that. Quick hide in the pantry, she will never look there.
(Tales of Pinocchio, 1968)

Pogo said...

American tolerance of diversity has changed into active disapproval of all things Christian. At the same time, Islamists gets public foot washing basins installed and private prayer rooms built at public expense.
Why?

Because you are afraid of them.
But we call it 'diversity'.
What happens when those stupid docile Christians figure that out?

reader_iam said...

"This could be more to do with who is saying it than what is being said. It might not have been an issue if this was a Sudanese person."

Let's think about that for a bit, shall we?

***

Someone here asked about who she was teaching: Times Online reports:

Teachers from the Khartoum school, which teaches the children of Sudanese professionals, expatriates and oil workers, have visited her in jail to deliver food and water.

The AFP story on Yahoo describes the school as an English-language private school and notes that [t]he headmistress of Unity High School is also British and Britons teach at various fee-paying international schools in the Sudanese capital.

Interestingly, the Yahoo story says the incident is "understood to have happened a while ago." It says Gibbons was arrested Sunday after parents complained. Times Online doesn't address this, but the Sky news article that Althouse links says: A source close to the school said one teacher was angered by the naming of the teddy bear and complained to the headmistress.

I see a whole number of holes in this story, and I wonder if there's more going on.

***

In case anyone's interested, here is Unity High Schools webpage. Poke around a bit, perhaps.

And don't you wish you could gain access to the discussion boards at alumnnet for Unity alumni?

***

By the way, I think the possible lashing Gibbons faces is barbaric, no ifs and or buts; I think that if that's the sort of thing teachers face, then either teachers from abroad should be banned or removed, and that we in Western countries should stand firm in condemning such sentences.

And so I do.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Ann Althouse said...
Can anyone explain to me why anyone reads my post to mean that I support the lashing? Come on!


I suppose it would come from your support for this being a crime; It is difficult to separate support for the idea that this action is illegal from support for the punishment.

Fen said...

Can anyone explain to me why anyone reads my post to mean that I support the lashing? Come on!

You read the article and had time to reflect on it while writing your post. The rest of us hadn't. So while you're ready to move beyond more general points and into something more specific, the rest of us are playing catch up.

reader_iam said...

I do realize she hasn't been sentenced. That's not the point of my last paragraph.

From other stories, I'm gathering that she may not have been actually charged yet, but also that British officials have been denied access.

"At the moment the Foreign Office is confident that this is not being used by the Sudanese government as a way of getting at the UK and they want to keep it that way," he said.

"Officials are working under the impression that this remains a police matter which hopefully will soon be cleared up."

Sudanese police said a decision on charges could be reached today.


Quote from this, a later Sky news article posted on Yahoo.

Peter Palladas said...

I hear they're advertising a Chair in Sharia law. Fancy a go?

reader_iam said...

I do not and did not read your post that way, Althouse. At the same time, I also understand how it can be read that way. (Had I actually been editing a piece like this, I would have flagged it--not from any offense or assumption, but to ask the author if he or she really wanted his or her work open to interpretation in this way. I can tell you I have done so, in the past.)

ANYWAY, since you asked, Ann: You can be quite vehement on all sorts of topics, and often are. But there are times when your style is curiously soft, almost offhand--perhaps because, in your mind, the point being made is so deeply "of course" (which I personally believe it is, with you). Had you phrased the idea expressed in the first nine words more strongly, and as a separate sentence, I suspect you might not be getting the same reaction. Specifically, by using the word "but" in the same sentence as the lukewarm first clause, it makes "but" seem a qualifier, rather than meaning "at the same time" which is how I interpreted your meaning, being familiar with your blog-writing and its quirks.

Then there is also the weight of words: You expended so few on what can be interpreted, in effect, "yes, yes, of course that's awful"--probably just because you wanted to get to the real point of your post--but then so many on what the teacher ought to have done. (I have also noted this before in other circumstances.) It throws the balance off. Since you asked, I'll tell you that is a weakness in the way you write, from time to time.

I'm sorry if this isn't specific enough--I'm dashing it off before heading out the door. And remember--you asked how what you wrote could be interpreted in a way other than you intended.

For that reason alone, and with no other agenda, I offer this quick comment.

Trooper York said...

Guard Engleheart: Why are you yelling at me? All I did was care!
Paul 'Wrecking' Crewe: These loser's are piling on, there's no stopping them!
(The Longest Yard, 2005)

Joe said...

Be aware that the STUDENTS voted to name the teddy bear Muhammad. (The STUDENTS should therefore be whipped under this barbaric law that has zero basis in actual Islam.) It's entirely possible that a popular student in the class was named Muhammad and the naming was done in deference to him.

The notion that Islam prohibits images of the Prophet Muhammad or use of his name is modern clap-trap nonsense. Muslim artists have been depicting the Prophet for millenia and children have been named Muhammad and variations of it for as long.

I also disagree that a parallel is using "shithead" since that it a commonly accepted swear word and would be a name of disrespect (though quite appropriate for many dogs and cats.) A more apt parallel would be a calling the bear "Jesus" (or if you're a Mormon, Joseph or Brigham.) It may be pretentious, but if the point is a lesson in respect, I think most people wouldn't have a problem with it. Then again, we don't go around decapitating the heads of people who question the origins of Christianity.

reader_iam said...

Fen: I saw the story about Gibbons hours and hours ago. I am not playing catchup, and you can't really know who is or is not, unless you've become the official Althouse Commenters Mindreader.

knoxwhirled said...

Here's my main problem with Althouse's post. This:

In fact, even in the United States, I think a teacher should refrain from calling a teddy bear Muhammad.

Especially in light of this:

you have a responsibility to learn the deep beliefs of the culture you've entered and to adapt to it.

A Muslim living in the US should in no way expect to be sheltered from offense--especially by way of others curbing their freedom of expression.

As Pogo intimated, as Americans, we are used to stuff like Jesuses in vials of pee, so we really can't be bothered about teddy bears named "Muhammed" or anything else. If you are.... then don't move here!

When there is no educational value at stake, it is a purely gratuitous offense.... it's important to learn about the different cultures of the students who attend the school and to work to create a positive, supportive environment.

It's not gratuitous, nor is it an offense in our culture. The burden is on the student to learn that and get used to it, not the other way around.

Do I think a teacher should be gratuitously rude? Of course not, but you get into really complicated area trying to learn/guess what each individual student might be offended by.

Althouse, you are always a huge proponent of free speech, and you often change my mind on different issues, espectially when you argue for "more speech" not less. But, honestly, you seem to go very PC when it comes to Muslims, and I don't get what makes them a favored class for you...

Joe said...

"Schools should do what they can to make the place welcoming and comfortable to all students and parents..."

Nonsense. This is exactly the PC type of crap that's destroying the educational system of this country. The job of schools isn't to be welcoming, the job of schools is to teach. If, for example, students and parents are uncomfortable with learning about evolution, tough. If they are offended about being taught the atrocities of the Spanish Inquisition (The Spanish Inquisition!), equally tough.

Trooper York said...

Jean Brodie: I am a teacher! First, last, always!
Class: Yada-Yada-Yada!Clap-trap and more Yada-Yada-Yada!
Jean Brodie; I give you an F!An F I tell you!
(The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1969)

Hoosier Daddy said...

But, honestly, you seem to go very PC when it comes to Muslims, and I don't get what makes them a favored class for you...

Upset the Muslim community in any way and the very least that will happen is being called a racist and getting the attention of CAIR. Worst case…well ask Theo Van Gogh

Wait..never mind.

Fen said...

reader_iam: Fen, I saw the story about Gibbons hours and hours ago. I am not playing catchup, and you can't really know who is or is not, unless you've become the official Althouse Commenters Mindreader.

Uh okay. Sorry. Wasn't trying to be snarky or anything.

reader_iam said...

Gibbons, 54, was teaching her pupils, who are around age 7, about animals and asked one of them to bring in her teddy bear, Boulos said. She asked the students to pick names for it and they proposed Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammad, and in the end the pupils voted to name it Muhammad, he said.

Each child was allowed to take the bear home on weekends and write a diary about what they did with it. The diary entries were collected in a book with the bear's picture on the cover, labeled, "My Name is Muhammad," he said. The bear itself was never labeled with the name, he added.


Source.

Trooper York said...

Winnie the Pooh: Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.
Bystander #1: Wow! That’s pretty deep. What’s that bears name.
Student: I don’t know, but my professor suggested we call him shithead.
(The Tao of Pooh, 1982)

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Thanks, Reader. As I thought, she wandered into a minefield while trying to do good but others had their own ideas.

Ann: Perhaps you are right, but I'm a big believer in the idea that society-at-large has the responsibility to accomodate but not cater to the sensitivities of minorities of any kind. Otherwise, we end up telling all the girls to come to school in potato sacks because one parent demands it.

Peter Palladas said...

Actually, on reflection, taking it all in all, on balance and with due consideration of all facts, opinions and the rest of the bollix...

...Ann's post is quite the most obnoxious, sick-inducing kow-towing to the barbaric monstrosities of all that sucks about anything and everything.

Fuck the stoopid Islamist bastards, and sod their liberal back-bending apologists.

I quit.

Trooper York said...

Jungle Jim: The natives are getting restless.
Professor Hilary Parker: I hope it wasn’t anything I said.
Bruce Edwards: Well you do talk a lot, so there is a chance you could say something that will disconcert them. After all they are just simple savages.
Jungle Jim: But they are human and they have their beliefs. You should respect them.
Professor Hilary Parker: Shithead.
(Jungle Jim, 1948)

Chas S. Clifton said...

Muhammed is such a common boy's name in the Muslim world that I expect the students were thinking only of that angle.

It took some grown-up religious bureaucrat to turn it into a "hate crime."

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"Think of a foreign teacher coming to the United States to teach in our public schools. We would expect her to refrain from from leading the students in a prayer, and she would be sanctioned if she didn't comply. "

Oh, I don't know!

Trooper York said...

Janis: [Reading list the major cliques in high school] You got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, J.V. jocks, Asian nerds, Cool Asians, Varsity jocks Unfriendly black hotties, Girls who eat their feelings, Girls who don't eat anything, Desperate wannabes, Burnouts, Sexually active band geeks,
Regina: Well they are all pissed at you for what you said. They keep talking and posting and text messaging and yaking and writing on the bathroom walls and making pests of themselves. They just don’t want to let it go.
Janis: I don’t care. I think what I think. Those bitch's are just a bunch of mean girls.
(Mean Girls, 2004)

ricpic said...

"The American tradition is diversity."

Presto! The end of America.

Revenant said...

The problem in this Sudan case is the punishment not what is considered an offense.

The problem is that it is a CRIMINAL offense at all. I would expect a teacher who named a bear "shithead" to be censured, or fired if she had behaved badly in the past. I would not expect the event to go anywhere NEAR a courtroom. If it does, something is seriously wrong.

Then don't go there and take a job as a teacher! If you want to go to a foreign country and revolutionize it and you know it's extremely repressive, you have to expect to be treated harshly.

Does that argument also apply to New Yorkers trying to revolutionize the Deep South? Just curious.

Also, how does the fact that the woman should reasonably have expected to be treated horribly by the barbaric culture she was teaching in prevent us from recognizing the barbarity of that culture?

Revenant said...

We're all in the immigrant tradition here. The American tradition is diversity.

With all due respect, the American tradition is assimilation, not "diversity". We take everyone from Vietnamese boat people to Congolese Ph.Ds and turn them into people who listen to sports talk radio and shop at strip malls. Our strength isn't that we are "diverse", but that we'll take anyone who is willing to live like an American.

Pensieve said...

What it comes down to for me is that it seems that even someone with a reasonable amount of knowledge of Muslim culture would not automatically understand the distinction between the acceptance of Muhammad as a name for a person and a stuffed animal, especially since the name Muhammad is so common. A teacher is there to guide her students, but one would think that the students (who, no matter how young, had grown up in the culture), would not have chosen such a name if it was so obviously offensive. I don't see how even a well-informed teacher could be blamed for making such a mistake, and the post does seem to assign some blame to the teacher, no matter how unacceptable she finds the punishment to be.

Blake said...

The offense was originated first, now it's simply a matter of justifying it. "Blasphemy" could mean that she gave the prophet's name to an animal figure, or to ANY figure, or something based on her being a non-Muslim.

That's the whole problem with the "try to understand": Once you understand that if you're not Muslim, you're SOL, that pretty much covers it.

And, no, the US of A was not founded on "diversity", though it has benefitted from it.

Mr. B. said...

Hmm...

Really great thread. This is why I read this blog.

Matters related to this do come up where I work - not the lashing of course.

Naming a teddy bear Muhammad would indeed offend a lot of people. Bad mistake and hard to defend anyone with any brains at all for making it.

However the fanatics enforcing sharia law for the offense also need to wise up. This is not even close to an eye for an eye.

But then I think of the kid in DC who was arrested and put in handcuffs for, was it eating a candy bar on the metro?

Ciao,

Bonzo

To put it in English: I'm with the prof on this one. It is the punishment, not the offense, that is in question.

Revenant said...

It is the punishment, not the offense, that is in question.

It is the "offense" too, so far as I'm concerned. The appropriate response to someone who throws a hissy-fit at the act of giving a perfectly common name toa stuffed animal isn't "oh, gosh, I'm sorry for offending your culture". It is "F you".

Cultures are not entitled to automatic respect. We don't look back on the crowds that screamed "nigger!" at the Little Rock schoolkids and say "well those kids were being VERY offensive to southern white culture". We rightly recognize that those white folks needed to shut the hell up and abandon the depraved culture of racism they lived in.

So these morons think a teddy bear's name offends the nutty faith some Arab bandit cooked up in the desert fifteen hundred years ago? Tough cookies. The British government should inform the Sudan that either this teacher gets released unharmed or they will be coming to get her themselves.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
George said...

For those who think the teacher committed an offense, here is a hypothetical:

You live, say, in Riyadh, the Garden City. You visit the souk where you buy a pendant/medallion, perhaps jewelry, that has Arabic writing on it. You don't read Arabic. It just looks nice.

You attach the medallion/pendant to a neckace and put it around a teddy bear that you keep in the rear window of your car.

Oops. Cops pull you over. Maybe the medallion was the word "Muhammad" spelled in Arabic. Maybe it was the Shahada.

You don't know what the shahada is. Too bad. You committed an offense.

I forgot to mention...you're South Korean, a garbage collector. Cops whip you with wire cables at the station.

Have a nice day!

Ann Althouse said...

"I suppose it would come from your support for this being a crime..."

Except that I didn't do that. What made you think I did?

Bruce Hayden said...

My problem with the whole thing is that the teacher isn't the one who named the bear that, but rather allowed her, presumably Muslim, students to do so. In other words, an error of omission versus one of commission.

Yes, she probably should have forbidden them from naming the bear such, telling them that while Mohammed is a great name for humans, including probably some of them, but they can't give a bear the same name. She should probably have then gone on and explained the theological difference. Of course, they were seven year olds, but still...

I suspect though that the teacher, Ms. Gibbons, is not Muslim, and probably didn't fully understand the theological difference between naming humans and bears after the Prophet, and was therefore aiding and abetting (or at least not preventing) her young charges in committing sacrilege.

I do think that because she was apparently not the one who actually named the bear after the Prophet, they should allow her to leave the country instead of being whipped for it.

Maguro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
former law student said...

Cultures are not entitled to automatic respect.

So not only did revenant support the exhibition of the elephant dung-enhanced Virgin Mary, he probably thought funding "Piss Christ" was a good idea, too. Because cultures are not entitled to automatic respect.

Caroline said...

I'm not talking about the more general problem raised by criminalizing "blasphemy." Clearly, that violates principles of free speech and separating religion and state.

Based on the first sentence in the quote above, I got the impression that Prof. Althouse decided not to get into the discussion of whether the crime was valid or not. But I suspect, based on the second sentence, that she does not approve of the putative crime.

Her primary focus seems to be on the punishment, which I gathered she believes is too severe for the crime. Hence,

The problem in this Sudan case is the punishment not what is considered an offense.

The other major point I got was that people need to be sure they fully understand the laws of a country they choose to work in.

Anyway that's how I read it. Not the most clearly written piece; there are many tangential points that detract from what I assume is her main point, that the punishment is too severe for the crime. But then it's just a blog posting, not a dissertation.

Revenant said...

So not only did revenant support the exhibition of the elephant dung-enhanced Virgin Mary, he probably thought funding "Piss Christ" was a good idea, too. Because cultures are not entitled to automatic respect.

I have a problem with tax money being used to fund artists at all. Using the money to offend the voting base that's providing the tax money is even worse.

If you want to create a giant fecal sculpture of Mary buggering Jesus with a strap-on crucifix, go for it. Just use your own money, ok?

Cedarford said...

By the way, Muhammed is not Allah, so use of his name is in no way blasphemy (which means using God's name disrespectfully). It seems to me that calling a stuffed bear Teddy would be far more offensive and truly blasphemous

You don't know much about Islam. Use of the Prophet's name is elaborately covered under Hadiths prescribing what use is halal, what is haram(forbidden).

Now, my own beef might be if this woman was hired to teach expats and not prepared in all the nuances of a medieval religion - then found herself teaching a class where Sudanese kids had been added to the expat kids for "diversity's sake" where she inadvertently crossed a line. If her employers were negligent in acculturating the teacher, they should be whipped, not her. And if it was a Lefty expat kid that got huffy and offended and his or her PC parents cheesed out the teacher to the Sudanese religious police, they, not the teacher, should be whipped, with the kid getting a lash or two to teach being a quisling against your own kind doesn't pay.

*********************
POGO - American tolerance of diversity has changed into active disapproval of all things Christian. At the same time, Islamists gets public foot washing basins installed and private prayer rooms built at public expense.
Why?

Because you are afraid of them.
But we call it 'diversity'.
What happens when those stupid docile Christians figure that out?


Great question.
I would say that 10,000 Christians
out on a healthy pogrom against the NYC ACLU Headquarters with the building burning and dead Lefty lawyers littering the sidewalks would provoke a strong government reaction. Not against the Christians - but the Jews and Atheists of the ACLU that "provoked them" with anti-Christian smears and anti-Christmas attacks, and anti-expression in open, public spaces of their religion lawsuits.

And, for the public tranquility, we would have national leaders urging the ACLU types to lay off their anti-Christian bigotry, given "neither side" wants more ACLU buildings to burn or ACLU lawyers whacked. And to allow a chance for "moderate Christians" to preach against beating and killing ACLU types, provided those types are more circumspect about not antagonizing and offending those of Faith.

And if the artists behind Piss Christ. excrement Mary, and the movie of CHrist the gay man and pederast had been found beaten into a coma or to death the next day - It would be almost certain that the brave, courageous artists doing "outrageous, offensive art to anger others but exemplify artistic freedom would knock it off like they do when Muslims begin waving knives and screaming death1 Allah Akbar! Death to the enemies of Islam!molester

At least it works that way for Muslims in the West. Best walk on eggshells, or part of the blame for JIhadis violence goes to the other side.

****************
Althouse - We're all in the immigrant tradition here. The American tradition is diversity.

Nonsense, Althouse.

The American tradition is taking diverse people and making them lose that diversity through assimilation. A strength we are slowly losing with the cancerous new creed of multi-culti.

The strength of European nations, Japan, Han China traditionally rests on cultural, religious, ethnic purity and one common language. Purity lost, civil war results.

The other path - the American, Roman, Muslim one- rests on deliberately eradicating diversity and unifying past disparate people under a common culture and language, aided by certain values, religion, law...

If you don't follow either path, you have invite diversity celebrations - like those now being held again in burning suburbs of France...
Or the Congo, where diversity is sought. And shot and sometimes eaten when found....

Gary Rosen said...

Leave it to C-fudd to drop to his knees to suck off these barbaric savages who want to whip a woman for naming a teddy bear while somehow finding a way to blame it on the Joooos. One of the best things about being Jewish, though, is that antisemites are invariably nitwits, misfucks and born losers like C-fudd.

C-fudd, do yourself a favor. Go back to your crappy little flophouse room and quietly eat your beefaroni dinner before you masturbate yourself to sleep. It's the best you can do with what you've got, really.

Darkbloom said...

Ann Althouse said:

"I suppose it would come from your support for this being a crime..."

Except that I didn't do that. What made you think I did?


Come on. You should reread your post. You said that you're opposed to the type of punishment imposed, but that the teacher has a responsibility to adhere to local customs. You said "The problem in this Sudan case is the punishment not what is considered an offense." So you are conceding that you have no problem with "what is considered an offense."

If you thought that people should respect local sensibilities, but not be subject to criminal penalties for violating them, then you should have said that. In the absence of such a remark, the only reasonable explanation is that you support the criminalization of her actions, but not the specific punishment imposed.

It is wrong for the power of the state to be used to impose criminal sanctions (such as loss of liberty of the infliction of physical harm) in order to force compliance with some particular religious belief. It's surprising that you don't see it that way, which I think is what many of your commenters are reacting to.

former law student said...

"The problem in this Sudan case is the punishment not what is considered an offense."

What if the punishment was a $25 fine? No dessert for three nights running? Three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys? These punishments would all seem palatable to me.

Many Muslim countries do cut slack to non-believers. For example, they don't expect non-believers to burqa-up. But there's an implicit floor beneath which "no decent" woman can sink. American chicks fall afoul of this expectation even in Europe, when they try to enter cathedrals wearing tank tops and short-shorts. Here, we would balk if any respectable Dyak women from Borneo would walk around topless as they usually do back home.

So, naming a stuffed animal after the Prophet likely breaks the barrier that "no decent" person would cross.

Latifa said...

Another way to understand this problem is to look at it from the point of view of parents of students involved in the mishap. They were offended by the incident and felt strongly enough about it to raise the matter to the police. The Police had to investigate and found enough ground to refer the matter to the Judicial system for suspicion of “insulting faith and religion,'' under Article 125 of Sudanese law. Whether she is guilty or not has to be decided by the Judge on whom the Authorities has no control, one would like to think.

Latifa said...

Another way to understand this problem is to look at it from the point of view of parents of students involved in the mishap. They were offended by the incident and felt strongly enough about it to raise the matter to the police. The Police had to investigate and found enough ground to refer the matter to the Judicial system for suspicion of “insulting faith and religion,'' under Article 125 of Sudanese law. Whether she is guilty or not has to be decided by the Judge on whom the Authorities has no control, one would like to think.

Latifa said...

Another way to understand this problem is to look at it from the point of view of parents of students involved in the mishap. They were offended by the incident and felt strongly enough about it to raise the matter to the police. The Police had to investigate and found enough ground to refer the matter to the Judicial system for suspicion of “insulting faith and religion,'' under Article 125 of Sudanese law. Whether she is guilty or not has to be decided by the Judge on whom the Authorities has no control, one would like to think.

Latifa said...

Another way to understand this problem is to look at it from the point of view of parents of students involved in the mishap. They were offended by the incident and felt strongly enough about it to raise the matter to the police. The Police had to investigate and found enough ground to refer the matter to the Judicial system for suspicion of “insulting faith and religion,'' under Article 125 of Sudanese law. Whether she is guilty or not has to be decided by the Judge on whom the Authorities has no control, one would like to think.

Latifa said...

Another way to understand this problem is to look at it from the point of view of parents of students involved in the mishap. They were offended by the incident and felt strongly enough about it to raise the matter to the police. The Police had to investigate and found enough ground to refer the matter to the Judicial system for suspicion of “insulting faith and religion,'' under Article 125 of Sudanese law. Whether she is guilty or not has to be decided by the Judge on whom the Authorities has no control, one would like to think.

Latifa said...

Another way to understand this problem is to look at it from the point of view of parents of students involved in the mishap. They were offended by the incident and felt strongly enough about it to raise the matter to the police. The Police had to investigate and found enough ground to refer the matter to the Judicial system for suspicion of “insulting faith and religion,'' under Article 125 of Sudanese law. Whether she is guilty or not has to be decided by the Judge on whom the Authorities has no control, one would like to think.

Latifa said...

Another way to understand this problem is to look at it from the point of view of parents of students involved in the mishap. They were offended by the incident and felt strongly enough about it to raise the matter to the police. The Police had to investigate and found enough ground to refer the matter to the Judicial system for suspicion of “insulting faith and religion,'' under Article 125 of Sudanese law. Whether she is guilty or not has to be decided by the Judge on whom the Authorities has no control, one would like to think.

Meade said...

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-Sudan-British-Teacher.html?hp

Don't Tread on Me said...

If naming an inanimate teddy bear after a religious figure is an insult and justifiable to be put death for, I'd hate to see what happens when you name a living breathing child after one... Would this not constitute the child being an equal to the original, therefore an even greater insult??? islam needs to come out of the dark ages and realize the world is more than one flavor brother, not to mention their sword rattling and threats just show the true nature of their cult... I think a couple of eastern Euro types tried that one flavor thing (commies) briefly in the 20th century and were crushed in the end by the desire for freedom and to live the mighty capitalistic dream. I think the islamist world needs Walmart, Starbucks and a few comedians to meet the same fate and loosen up.