This is one of those news bits that tends to push me ever closer to the proverbial precipice... just teetering between sanity and pure lunacy. God only knows what it would take to tip me that final bit over the edge.
Gillian Gibbons, a teacher from Liverpool, England, UK, working in Khartoum, Sudan, was arrested recently for committing blasphemy.
the Sudan, like many Middle Eastern nations, takes religion deadly seriously. And, I suppose, it's their right to do so. I, as a citizen of the United States, do not have to take it quite so seriously. I can choose to accept religious thought, discount it entirely, or pick and choose as I please. But my willy-nilly approach would not likely fly in any Middle Eastern country.
My big beef, though, is with the action that Gibbons performed that was deemed to be blasphemous. She had introduced a Teddy bear in her classroom of seven year olds and gave them the opportunity, as a group, to name the bear. One child suggested the name Muhammad, not just because it is one of the most popular names in both Sudan and the Middle East as a whole, but also because it was his own name. The children voted and Muhammad came out the winner.
One child told his parents of what transpired in class and the proverbial shit hit the fan. Apparently, the name is so sacred that it is considered blasphemy to use it as a name for an inanimate object such as a Teddy bear.
Now this poor teacher, if convicted, could face 4o lashes, a fine, or six months behind bars... FOR NAMING A TEDDY BEAR!!!!!
What the holy hell is wrong with this world??? The woman made a mistake. Actually, it wasn't even she who made the mistake. Her pupils, having been raised in that culture, should have known better and advised against what was happening. But no. Now she will pay the price for what is, ultimately, just plain idiocy. It's not as though she was intentionally trying to offend anyone or a whole region. She was just engaging her students in an act of childhood innocence... the naming of a stuffed animal. If officials would give her the chance to apologize, I'm sure she would do so without even thinking twice about it. And the rest of the world would have learned a lesson as well. And you might gain the respect of people around the world for having used a more positive form of reinforcement.
Give the lady a break.
P.S. I think I'm going out to buy a Teddy bear and name it Muhammad. That's my show of opposition against this stupidity.