There is probably no toy worldwide that is more innocent than a cute cuddly Teddy Bear. But not to muslims. As part of a class project a British teacher's Sudanese class of young students named the stuffed tyke - Mohammed-and now the muslims officials in Sudan are outraged and see this as an insult to their Prophet and have arrested the teacher, 54 yr. old Gillian Gibbons, under "insult to faith and religion". She may even face 40 lashes for her "blasphemy".
The fact is that, due to the large numbers of muslims in the UK, Mohammed recently became the second most popular baby name in Great Britain. Thus it is no surprise that in a muslim country the students chose the name.
But even more interesting is that our furry inanimate pals happen to be named after one of the United States most popular Presidents. - President Theodore Roosevelt, nickname Teddy. This was done after a cartoon appeared in the newspaper retelling the story of how, on one of Roosevelt's famous hunting trips, he refused to shoot a bear tied to a tree. He considered to do so unsportmanlike.----"This cartoon sparked the imagination of the country and of a shopkeeper in Brooklyn, New York. The shopkeeper, Morris Michtom, asked his wife, Rose, to make two plush stuffed bears for display in his shop's window." Thus the Teddy Bear was "born". Comments continue below cartoon.......
But we can ALWAYS count on the muslims to consider any remote incident as an "insult to Islam". Perhaps this can be another round peg squeezed into the square hole of Islamophobia. One can imagine seeing Teddy Bears swinging from poles - hanging in effigy - while angry muslims riot in the street. The Sudanese government should learn some "sportmanship" (and rationality) from Teddy Roosevelt and stop this ridiculous arrest and prosecution of Gillian Gibbons.
entire article - emphasis mine
By Sally Peck and agencies
A British teacher has been arrested in Sudan for allowing her seven-year-old students to name a teddy bear Mohammed, the British Embassy said.
Gillian Gibbons, 54, from Liverpool, was detained yesterday on suspicion of insulting the Prophet Mohammed.
Mrs Gibbons let her class at Unity High School in central Khartoum choose the name for the stuffed toy as part of a school project.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm a British national was arrested by police in Sudan yesterday.
"We are providing consular assistance."
A spokesman for the British Embassy in Khartoum said: "The children chose the name because it is very common here.
"This happened in September and the parents did not have a problem with it.
"We are in contact with the authorities here and they have visited the teacher and she is in a good condition."
The website for the Sudanese Media Centre, which has close ties with the country's government, reported that Mrs Gibbons could be prosecuted under "faith and religions" legislation.
It states: "Khartoum attorney office opens a claim under article 125 of the criminal law (insult of faith and religions) against a British national female teacher named Julian (sic) working for unruly school in Khartoum.
"Head of the attorney offices Mutusim Abdallah told (SMC) that legal arrangements are under way to issue warrant of arrest against the suspect upon a complaint presented by the ministry of education.
"Abdallah said the suspect teacher printed the name of Prophet Mohammed PBUH on a doll in a shape of bear.
"Then she wrote letters to student guardians telling them that they should receive a doll on which the name Mohammed is printed.
"However this event was met with wide condemnation by guardians of the students."