Inciting Religious Hatred?

Which is more of these two things is most likely to sow dissension and spread the seeds of hate between different societies?

  1. A British teacher, teaching in Sudan, allowing her pupils to name a teddy bear Muhammad (after 20 of 23 of them selected the name), not realising it would cause offence
  2. The Sudanese justice system finding her guilty of “insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs” and sending her to jail

I’m tolerant of religion — or the lack of it — but what I am not tolerant of is intolerance. And while I have no intention of insulting Muhammad, Islam, or its followers, this is surely an innocent mistake, and I think it’s perfectly appropriate to for people to want to express contempt for the Sudanese “justice” system.

Aside from the personal tragedy of Gillian having serving jail time for this farce, this will rather unfortunatley provide a great PR coup for those anti-Islamists over the world who will no doubt take the opportunity to indicate that they think this shows Islam as savage and uncivilised. If you do hear this sort rhetoric, don’t assume that the Sudanese people necessarily agree with the decision themselves — the BBC have pointed out Sudanese blogs and forums critical of the charges.

To quote some of them:

…they’re just making our religion look ridiculous

Three words: This is ridiculous.

I imagine how the Prophet — peace be upon him — would feel when he sees how narrow minded the Muslims are now.

Not only that, but the school has now had to be closed temporarily for “fear of reprisals”. Punish someone for an innocent mistake, punish the children by taking away their education. Why could no-one have simply had a quiet word, explained that they were offended by the name, and asked her to change it…?

2 Responses to “Inciting Religious Hatred?”

  1. Mike Cherim responds:

    Thrown in jail for letting the kids name a stuffed animal Muhammad? Wow, that’s harsh.

  2. Aaron Bassett responds:

    I had this same discussion with my better half on Saturday night, but I have a slightly different opinion than most. Although I don’t agree with their decision I don’t see it as that outrageous when compared to what the ‘western’ world is currently doing.

    At least in this case she had actually broken a law, there has been and are still instances where people have been incarcerated for indefinite amounts of time (gitmo) for only the suspicion of committing or aiding a crime. This I feel is far worse, but because it is America (and Britain has to shoulder alot of the blame as well) and its done in the name or preventing terrorism then it isn’t given anywhere near as much media/news time.

    No country is blameless when it comes to terrible acts of stupidity.

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