Teddy Bears and Islam

One of the golden rules of being a freelancer is never to complain about lack of work. I have been moaning about being stuck in Khartoum for the past week, unable to get to where I want to be. And then Sudanese police arrest a British teacher here for naming a teddy bear Mohamed. All hell has broken loose.

I’m not going to discuss the sad tale of Gillian Gibbons. She’s all over the web now.

But it’s already afforded me a fascinating insight into Khartoum’s schools. Unity High School where Miss Gibbons was teaching was founded in 1902 along Christian lines in the days of Brit rule. Walking into its shady courtyard was not unlike walking into a Cambridge college or English boarding school – except with Arab arches. This is the school favoured by the Sudanese elite, and a smattering of aid and oil workers.

United Nations workers tend to prefer KICS – Khartoum International Community School. It gets rave reviews from parents but apparently costs more than Gordonstoun so only an option if Uncle Ban is providing a good education allowance. Apparently it was shipped over brick by brick from the UK so that Sudan’s very own answer to Richard Branson – Osama Daoud Abdellatif, chairman of the DAL Group – could give his kids the very best education.

Today’s story suggests that there are tensions between a Muslim population governed by Sharia law and westerners educating their children at American or British schools. I suspect they actually rub along pretty well. Many well-to-do Sudanese want their kids to go to international schools. The fear is that there may be a minority of hardliners who need little encouragement to bring their people on to the streets.

6 thoughts on “Teddy Bears and Islam

  1. Has anybody spared a thought for those voiceless millions around the world that have suffered more than anybody? Us Teddy Bears are outraged that this teacher only received a prison term rather than a good whipping. How do you think it makes us cuddly, lovable comforters of children feel to have one of our own named after a genocidal, illiterate pedophile? She should be punished as harshly as possible and I demand we take to the streets and shout “death to America, Israel, England” until this travesty is righted.

  2. Thanks for some great reporting. I’m a relief worker in Sudan and trying to get a blog rolling over at toohugeworld.blogspot.com.

    Your on the b’roll.

  3. Many Sudanese people are the daily victims of extremist mentality that led to the imprisonment of Gibbons. The regime encourages this line of thought unfortunately. I and many Sudanese are displeased with what happened in The Sudan, and the matter could have been resolved amicably as it is a cultural misunderstanding. We strongly believe it was an innocent miscalculation from Ms. Gibbons side, and she been a non-muslim all doubt should have been accorded to her in utmost respect. Simply put Sudan has no place for extremism and fanaticism. It is a sad childish event that will be written in the history books against Sudan.

    Muaz M. Ataalsid
    Sudan.Net / SudanForum.Net

  4. This silly incident, totally from the fault of a Muhammaden Jihadist Approach, has indeed much damaged Islam [which means Peace] World Wide.
    Here was a sweet simple lady, under the protection of your Sudanic Islamic Laws of Hospitality, who in her childlike innocence, at the behest of her infant children pupils, called a Teddy Bear for the most appropriate name given by her pupils, and finds herself unlawfully at, and contrary to Sharia Law of Hospitality [I am guessing here!] arrested; tried, and condemmed by Facist literalists deliberatly misenterpreting the Koran.
    The same facist Koranic literalists drunk on their power rioted in the streets [like an alcohol inebriated baying Western Football Mob] demanding the death of the innocent sweet lady.
    I pray and Meditate for the person who was named Muhammad called the Prophet, that he be not placed into deep hells by the misconduct of those who miscall themselves his followers. For we are all responsible for the resultant of our actions and words.

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