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Teddy bear teacher – was she naive?
Teacher Gillian Gibbons, who was jailed in Sudan for allowing her students to name a teddy bear Mohammad, has been pardoned by the country’s president.
She was sentenced last Thursday to 15 days in jail for insulting Islam.
Gibbons, 54, had left her home town of Liverpool in July and had only been in Sudan for four months. The case rapidly escalated into a diplomatic incident and Muslim hardliners in Sudan protested after Friday prayers. The Muslim Council of Britain has said it is “appalled.”
But should Gibbons have perhaps been more aware of the possible consequences of so naming a toy animal? She may not have been in the country long but she must have known of the furore in 2006 when a Danish newspaper published cartoons of Mohammad and of the sensibilities of producing any image of the Prophet.
Is this just a case of an innocent abroad or a serious failure to take into account the possible dangers to Westerners of living and working in strict Muslim countries?
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