Outrage spread rapidly through much of the civilized world earlier today following the arrest of a British teacher in Sudan. Gillian Gibbons was charged with offending Islam by allowing her second graders to name their class Teddy bear Mohammed. First time Mohammed offenders are subject to a maximum one year in jail and forty lashes.
The outrage subsided somewhat after Khalid Mubarak, the media counselor at the Sudan embassy in London, displayed a picture of the bear and proclaimed that 'Mohammed is not, nor has he ever been, as cute as a little dickens'.
"It's an outrage," declared Mubarak, "mockery of the worst kind. Will somebody please tell me just who this travesty of a child's toy is supposed to be praying to? Oh yes, get them while they're young and impressionable, that's what you Westerners always try to do. Any reasonable man must admit that this blasphemer deserves forty lashes just for the pink pajamas."
...two days later...
British schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons, on trial in Sudan for insulting Islam, was found guilty yesterday of allowing her second-graders to name their class Teddy bear 'Mohammad'. In a surprise move, however, the court showed mercy, sentencing her to a mere fifteen days in a filthy cell, to include time served and a possible early release for good behavior. Gibbons could have received a year in the hole and forty lashes.
As might be expected, hundreds (thousands?) of wacky Sudanese Muslims grabbed their clubs, knives, axes and swords and headed to the streets, chanting “Kill her, kill her by firing squad!”, “No tolerance, execution!” and the ever popular "No one lives who insults the Prophet."
Cleric Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karouri provided words of comfort and mercy to worshippers at his Friday sermon. “This an arrogant woman who came to our country, cashing her salary in dollars, teaching our children hatred of our Prophet Muhammad."
"Imprisoning this lady does not satisfy the thirst of Muslims in Sudan. Muhammad mockery is the greatest problem facing Sudan today, except for the thirst I just mentioned. We really could use some drinking water around here. And food would be nice. But except for hunger, thirst, and, oh yeah, that messy business in Darfur, Muhammad mockery is the worst... wait, I forgot about the floods. Ironic, is it not, one moment we're complaining about not having water, and the next thing you know we've got too much, such is the wisdom of Allah, what can one say? Oh, and then there's the problem of Chad. Very bad country, always on our case. But as I was saying, aside from thirst, hunger, Darfur, floods and Chad, Muhammad mockery is issue number one."
photos: Vermont Teddy Bears; AFP/Getty
©2007, Mark Hoback