You may well have heard about the British volunteer teacher Gillian Gibbons who has been sentenced to 15 days in prison and deportation from Sudan because she allowed her class to name a teddy bear Muhammad. She was convicted of “insulting religion” because any depictions of Muhammad are deemed insulting – so naming a teddy bear Muhammad is a no-no.
I must admit that I find this kind of thing a little crazy. As I have said in the past, I think it’s very important to be tolerant of other cultures and open to other ways of life. However, I just can’t respect the kind of country/culture that thinks this reaction is OK. Ridiculous.
Even more worrying is the fact that it seems many people in the area thought that this punishment was too lenient for the crime and have been protesting and calling for the death sentence! These guys are completely mental. They need some perspective.
The Economist has an article on the the subject. What they say there is what I have found to be true here in Cape Town: most Muslims in democratic countries also think this kind of reaction is unjust.
Update: I have just read that the woman was given a presidential pardon and has been released. A good step, but I still think that the law was a crazy one.