English teacher jailed because her class named a Teddy bear Mohammed. Angry religious fanatics want the teacher dead.
British teacher Gillian Gibbons was jailed in Sudan for letting her seven-year-old pupils at Khartoum’s private Unity High School pick their favourite name for a teddy bear as part of a project on animals in September.
Twenty out of 23 of them chose Mohammad – a popular boy’s name in Sudan, as well as the name of Islam’s Prophet.
For this Gibbons was sentenced to 15 days in prison; she had faced a maximum of 40 lashes or a year in prison under Sudan’s legal code, which is based on British law but modified to include sharia punishments.
Chanting, “Shame, shame on the U.K.,” nearly a thousand young men marched from the palace to Unity High School, where Gibbons had taught, and then on to the British embassy, burning newspapers bearing images of 54-year-old teacher.
The crowd demanded that the teacher be executed following her conviction on charges of blasphemy.
Gibbons’ sentence did not satisfy some clerics. Sheikh Abdul-Jalil al-Karuri, an adviser to President Omar al-Bashir, said he was not surprised that people had decided to demonstrate over what he deemed a lenient sentence. “I was expecting more because this is a serious case and the court just gave her 15 days. She has done five already so she can leave any time soon,” he said.
Teachers at Unity High have stood by their colleague, noting that the first complaint came only last week despite the fact that parents had been aware of the class bear’s name since September. Teachers have alleged that Gibbons was the victim of a staffer trying to discredit the school rather than an offended parent, CNN reported.