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    28 Nov '07 23:141 edit
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7117430.stm

    A British teacher has been charged in Sudan with insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs.
    The Foreign Office has confirmed that charges have been laid against Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool.

    She was arrested in Khartoum after allowing her class of primary school pupils to name a teddy bear Muhammad.

    Foreign Secretary David Miliband has said he will summon the Sudanese ambassador "as a matter of urgency".

    In a statement, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was "surprised and disappointed" at the charges.

    A spokesman said the first step was to "understand the rationale behind the charge", something which would be discussed by Mr Miliband and the ambassador as soon as possible.

    "We will consider our response in the light of that," he added.

    Lawyers say Mrs Gibbons faces six months in jail, 40 lashes or a fine if convicted.

    Sudanese state media said prosecutors had completed their investigation and decided to charge Mrs Gibbons under Article 125 of the Sudanese criminal code.

    The BBC's Amber Henshaw, in Khartoum, said Mrs Gibbons was expected to appear in court on Thursday.

    The Muslim Council of Britain reacted angrily to the news, saying it was "appalled" and demanded Mrs Gibbons' immediate release.

    "This is a disgraceful decision and defies common sense. There was clearly no intention on the part of the teacher to deliberately insult the Islamic faith," said Secretary-General Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, in a strongly-worded statement.

    "We call upon the Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, to intervene in this case without delay to ensure that Ms Gibbons is freed from this quite shameful ordeal," said Dr Bari.

    Mrs Gibbons taught at the fee-paying Unity High School in Khartoum and the school's director, Robert Boulos, said earlier: "This is a very sensitive issue. We are very worried about her safety.

    But I think the lady, she hasn't got any intention to insult the Islamic religion, therefore I am sure, very sure that if she went to the court she might be acquitted

    Earlier, the Sudanese Embassy in London said the situation was a "storm in a teacup" and signalled that the teacher could be released soon, attributing the incident to a cultural misunderstanding.

    But Sudan's top clerics have called for the full measure of the law to be used against Mrs Gibbons and labelled her actions part of a Western plot against Islam.

    "What has happened was not haphazard or carried out of ignorance, but rather a calculated action and another ring in the circles of plotting against Islam," the Sudanese Assembly of the Ulemas said in a statement.

    The semi-official clerics body is considered relatively moderate and is believed to have the ear of the Sudanese government.

    A Sudanese human rights lawyer and Member of Parliament countered that Mrs Gibbons may be acquitted or simply fined under the discretion of the magistrate.

    "It is not imperative to lash her, it is not imperative to send her to prison," said Ghazi Suleiman. "But I think the lady, she hasn't got any intention to insult the Islamic religion, therefore I am sure, very sure that if she went to the court she might be acquitted."

    Mrs Gibbons was arrested on Sunday after several parents made complaints to Sudan's Ministry of Education.

    The BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner said the situation could potentially become a very serious diplomatic incident.

    Catherine Wolthuizen, chief executive of Fair Trials Abroad, told BBC News 24 that getting fair legal representation for Mrs Gibbons is a priority: "We are shocked and dismayed as I think many people are."
  2. Joined
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    28 Nov '07 23:41
    Originally posted by snowinscotland
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7117430.stm

    A British teacher has been charged in Sudan with insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs.
    The Foreign Office has confirmed that charges have been laid against Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool.

    She was arrested in Khartoum after allowing her class of ...[text shortened]... rity: "We are shocked and dismayed as I think many people are."
    Do you think I should name my teddy bear Jesus?
  3. Standard memberRajk999
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    29 Nov '07 01:05
    Originally posted by josephw
    Do you think I should name my teddy bear Jesus?
    You can, without facing 6 mths in jail and 40 lashes.
    Whats your point?
  4. Joined
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    29 Nov '07 04:22
    Islam/radical Islam is going to eventually take over the world and anyone who tries to stop them is going to be accused of Islamophobia and will be intimidated from doing anything about it.

    Before that happens, I hope I get better at saxophone, chess and guitar and see some grandchildren.

    Not to be pessimistic or anything!
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    29 Nov '07 05:261 edit
    Originally posted by snowinscotland
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7117430.stm

    A British teacher has been charged in Sudan with insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs.
    The Foreign Office has confirmed that charges have been laid against Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool.

    She was arrested in Khartoum after allowing her class of rity: "We are shocked and dismayed as I think many people are."
    I have to say that this story is telling in regards to how Muslims feel about Mohammad. For example, what if they named the bear Abraham or Isaac, or Moses? I dare say that such a repsonse would not have been generated had they done so. However, name him Mohammad and they all go crazy accusing them of blasphemy. I think this is telling in how they either knowingly or unknowingly revere Mohammad much in the same way that Christians revere Christ. Mohammad is their Christ only at least Christians admitt that the one they worship is God in the flesh.
  6. Melbourne, Australia
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    29 Nov '07 05:49
    Originally posted by snowinscotland
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7117430.stm

    A British teacher has been charged in Sudan with insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs.
    The Foreign Office has confirmed that charges have been laid against Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool.

    She was arrested in Khartoum after allowing her class of ...[text shortened]... rity: "We are shocked and dismayed as I think many people are."
    I heard a report from a journalist in Khartoum about this earlier today. She suggested that there were many moderates in the country who thought the whole thing was a bit much.
    This notion of an imminent takeover of the world by radical sharia law is I think, a bit overstated.
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    29 Nov '07 09:44
    Originally posted by amannion
    I heard a report from a journalist in Khartoum about this earlier today. She suggested that there were many moderates in the country who thought the whole thing was a bit much.
    This notion of an imminent takeover of the world by radical sharia law is I think, a bit overstated.
    It's also interesting how Christians like to get on their high horse in regards to this sort of thing, when only a couple of hundred years ago they were just as maniacal. Hell, there's still a blasphemy law in Britain today.
  8. Standard memberRajk999
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    29 Nov '07 11:10
    Originally posted by Starrman
    It's also interesting how Christians like to get on their high horse in regards to this sort of thing, when only a couple of hundred years ago they were just as maniacal. Hell, there's [b]still a blasphemy law in Britain today.[/b]
    Is it therefore your opinion that Christians becuase their bloody past should not now speak up against barbarism ?

    I take it you are also unable to see any value in former criminals who after being reformed get on their high horse and try to reform others.
  9. Cape Town
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    29 Nov '07 11:18
    Originally posted by Rajk999
    Is it therefore your opinion that Christians becuase their bloody past should not now speak up against barbarism ?

    I take it you are also unable to see any value in former criminals who after being reformed get on their high horse and try to reform others.
    It is my opinion that you are painting the religion with the actions of some of its members. If that is acceptable then exactly the same applies to Christianity.
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    29 Nov '07 11:37
    Originally posted by Rajk999
    Is it therefore your opinion that Christians becuase their bloody past should not now speak up against barbarism ?

    I take it you are also unable to see any value in former criminals who after being reformed get on their high horse and try to reform others.
    'High horse' refers to the holier than thou sentiment being used, not the intention to speak out against barbarism.
  11. Standard memberPalynka
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    29 Nov '07 12:08
    Originally posted by Starrman
    It's also interesting how Christians like to get on their high horse in regards to this sort of thing, when only a couple of hundred years ago they were just as maniacal. Hell, there's [b]still a blasphemy law in Britain today.[/b]
    It's something to get on one's high horse about. This is an example of cultural differences that I do not and cannot respect.
  12. Standard memberPalynka
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    29 Nov '07 12:13
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    It is my opinion that you are painting the religion with the actions of some of its members. If that is acceptable then exactly the same applies to Christianity.
    It's not about the actions of some members, it's about when religion becomes a direct source for legislation.
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    29 Nov '07 12:16
    Originally posted by Palynka
    It's something to get on one's high horse about. This is an example of cultural differences that I do not and cannot respect.
    You're missing the point, I intended it to mean an arrogant holier than thou attitude. The topic in question is clearly something about which we should all speak out.
  14. Standard memberRajk999
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    29 Nov '07 12:25
    Originally posted by Starrman
    'High horse' refers to the holier than thou sentiment being used, not the intention to speak out against barbarism.
    I cant recall seeing any 'holier than thou' sentiment being used. Can you point one out?

    From what I have read on all the threads pertaining to this issue, I can see:
    - sympathy for the victim.
    - condemnation of the authorities
    - recognition of the fact that Islam needs change ......

    ... and this from both muslims and non-muslims.
  15. Cape Town
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    29 Nov '07 13:041 edit
    Originally posted by Palynka
    It's not about the actions of some members, it's about when religion becomes a direct source for legislation.
    But the poster is effectively blaming the religion for the political system in a particular part of the world. He should be pointing his finger at the particular countries political system and not at the religion in general.

    The truth is that many Christians would act in exactly the same way if given a chance.(and it has happened in the past).
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