29 November 2007

Jail for Gibbons

Gillian Gibbons has been found guilty in Sudan of insulting religion after she allowed her primary school class to name a teddy bear Muhammad and sentenced to 15 days in prison. She will then be deported.


She had been accused on three counts of insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs. Earlier, Foreign Secretary David Miliband had met the Sudanese ambassador to discuss the case, stressing it was an "innocent misunderstanding". The prime minister, Sudanese embassy officials in London and UK Muslim organisations also expressed the hope that Mrs Gibbons would be released. However it seems that Sudan's top clerics had called for the full measure of the law to be used against Mrs Gibbons and labelled her actions part of a Western plot against Islam.


The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones - who knows Mrs Gibbons – said ''Obviously relief that there won't be the public lashing which everybody feared, but deep disappointment because this was clearly a mistake and I know that the Muslim community here in Liverpool will be as disappointed as anybody.I think, too, a real anxiety that something like this so badly handled in this way [and] won't do anything to build up good relations between the faith communities.''

I
would have said that this verdict while a lot milder than feared won’t do the perception of Islam any good. Too many will simply see this idiocy as typical of all muslims when it is clearly not the case. Then again I can’t imagine Sudan’s clerics giving a damn about their religion’s image. I presume that many of them are like their Saudi counterparts and have their mindsets stuck in the 7th century

12 comments:

Siani said...

It's a relief she didn't get 40 lashes, but what sort of things do the prison guards of such a state subject female prisoners to? I hope she gets the hell out of Sudan as soon as she's freed. Would a man have received such harsh treatment for the same deed? Sadly, there's not a lot anyone can do at the moment, to enlighten such an entrenched and archaic mindset, because the clerics have such a stranglehold in some of these countries.

jams o donnell said...

It is a relief indeed SIani. It could have been much worse. It's still a bloody stupid decision

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

What about the Saudi rape victim getting 200 lashes for not having a chaperone?

I really don't think Mohammed WOULD have approved.

jams o donnell said...

I've often considered that most religions are the word of God perverted by Man. To a great extent it's the word perverted by men!

Liz said...

I hadn't heard this news yet. How crazy is that?

jams o donnell said...

It's utterly crazy isn't it Liz

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Well said, jams. I do think the lady was culturally ignorant - or maybe she was just careless for a moment - but this punishment is ridiculous. The poor woman is just being used.

Roland Dodds said...

I sadly was on a BBC site recently, and I noticed a lot of people thought she deserved what she was getting, and that she should have been more “culturally sensitive”! That she should have “respected the laws of the land.” That’s the stupidest argument I have ever heard.

I am not arguing against the application of the law, it is terrible when applied to Sudanese residents as well, but the disgusting nature of the law itself. This woman should have probably learned a bit more about the culture around her to avoid this, but it doesn’t change the fact that the law is wrong and evil. Anyone who says we have to respect their laws and culture, even if this is the product of such a society, I will have to dismiss as opposed to universal human rights.

Renegade Eye said...

I doubt if the Islamist court, cares that bad relations with other faith communities will occur.

jams o donnell said...

THe worse I can see is cultural ignorance Welshcakes. Even so the whole this is just so ludicrous.

I hadn't seen those remarks Roland. I know that most Muslim commentators seem to think the whole thing is as idiotic as anyone else. Whichever way you look at it it's either a crass law or one that permits such crass misapplication.

Agreed Ren, they won't give a shit

Roland Dodds said...

Here is the link to the BBC forums that I pulled me comments from.

jams o donnell said...

Thanks for the link Roland. Soem of teh comments are ridiculous indeed