The teddy bear case

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The teddy bear case

Postby mattie » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:15 pm

A British teacher was imprisoned in Sudan for allowing one of her pupils to call the teddy bear 'Mohammed'. Many protestors and inhabitants of Sudan said this was too lenient, and demanded that she be executed.

Do you feel that the teacher should have been jailed or executed for allowing her pupil to give the teddy bear this name, or is it just an example of the growing intolerance and extremism in the Middle East?


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Postby Dork_Lord » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:24 pm

I think that the leniency of the Sudanese courts in this case, shows sense enough not to provoke conflict with the UK. I believe she has been sentenced to 15 days imprisonment, and deportation, a well made choice in my opinion, as it allows them to keep her out of harms way.
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Postby mattie » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:25 pm

These sorts of debates always raise issues such as should just accept other people's cultures? After all, what is a culture? What is a society? Surely we are all part of the same human race, and should therefore accept people's differences in our countries? Why is Westernising the non-western world bad, when the non-western world is being allowed to influence our own customs and cultures? Surely this is a good thing, providing immigration is controlled to a certain degree?

The response of the Sudanese government, legal system and population seems to be not only extreme, but also completely against reasonable common sense. This poor woman was completely innocent of any wrongful act, and to punish her in this way merely fuels further non-western sentiment. At a time when extremism and anti-Muslim views are sadly becoming more common, surely all cultures - irrespective of their own unique legal and religious beliefs - should be a bit more tolerant towards each other.


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Postby mattie » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:28 pm

I think that the leniency of the Sudanese courts


I have to say that, in my opinion, a prison sentence seems incredibly harsh and ridiculous given that the woman only allowed a pupil to name the teddy bear after himself!!


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Postby Dork_Lord » Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:44 pm

I was more referring to the fact that the court is at least sane enough not to listen to those elements which I would describe as being "completely mental" and refusing any harsher punishments on her. I believe that naming a teddy bear "Mohammed", shouldn't be any sort of crime, however in Sudan it apparently is.

I wouldn't care if anyone wanted to name a Teddy Bear "Jesus", but apparently radical Muslims take offence to this sort of thing.
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Postby mattie » Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:53 pm

Yes, I agree :)


I think the sad thing is that the teacher didn't even suggest the teddy's name - that was suggested by one of her pupils, who wanted to name it after himself.

I also pity the more moderate Muslims, who have to endure anti-Islamic sentiments in their every day lives, just on the basis of a few fundamentalist idiots who live thousands of miles away. It isn't fair that such behaviour is considered typical of all Muslims, when the vast majority just want to follow their religious beliefs and have peace like the rest of us.


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ridiculous

Postby k9ruby » Sat Dec 01, 2007 11:44 am

Ridiculous.

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Postby Chinagirl » Sat Dec 01, 2007 6:20 pm

i think this whole case is a load of bull***t. (i dont normally swear but this has really annoyed me). the teacher didnt actually DO anything!!! it was a little boy who came up with it! i woulndt be bothered (and i dont think ayone else would be) if a teddy was called mary or joseph, which is kinda the same thing
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Postby MontyDyspraxia » Sat Dec 01, 2007 6:44 pm

I agree with Chinagirl. Anyway, Mohammed is a common name!!
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Re: The teddy bear case

Postby Thirteen-thirty-seven » Sat Dec 01, 2007 10:18 pm

mattie wrote: an example of the growing intolerance and extremism in the Middle East?


Sudan is not in the Middle East. Sudan is in Africa.
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Postby mattie » Sat Dec 01, 2007 10:41 pm

Sudan is not in the Middle East. Sudan is in Africa.


True, but the extremism originates from the Middle East, and it is to this which I was referring.


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Postby parnassus » Sat Dec 01, 2007 10:42 pm

Chinagirl wrote:i think this whole case is a load of bull***t. (i dont normally swear but this has really annoyed me). the teacher didnt actually DO anything!!! it was a little boy who came up with it! i woulndt be bothered (and i dont think ayone else would be) if a teddy was called mary or joseph, which is kinda the same thing


The presentation of animals in Christianity is not the same as it is in Islam. We see nothing offensive about the idea because we do not see any symbolism behind it. To name a toy animal - any animal - after Muhammad is to suggest that Muhammad had a bear's intelligence, a bear's savagery, and a number of other undesirable traits. Those connections just aren't there for us, because we do not see animals in the same way.

The case was blown out of proportion, but it isn't due to growing extremism and intolerance in Africa or anywhere else for that matter. I was punished for making a similar mistake when I was at school in Saudi. I dressed a toy cat in traditional Saudi clothes. I didn't realise that it was a culturally insensitive thing to do at the time. A lot of things that would seriously offend people in this country (such as turning up an hour late for a meeting) don't offend people from other cultures, whereas things that we see as trivial are taken as grossly offensive.

It is important to note here that execution was never a proposed punishment for this teacher. There are very few crimes that are considered hudud (worthy of the death penalty) under Shar'iah law, and this isn't one of them.

We should also remember that this isn't a question of moderate versus fundamentalist. Those classifications are too simplistic. They are categories that a lot of Muslims dislike. It is possible to be a traditional, orthodox, observant Muslim and still think that the teddy bear case was a fiasco - and it's possible to be a self-defined 'liberal' Muslim and kick up a big fuss about it. I know a couple of Muslims who identify as fundamentalist. They live a very strict, rigorously Islamic life. They are also some of the most courteous, even-tempered people I've ever met, and very unlikely to get worked up about somebody's mistake. We have to stop defining them in our terms.
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Postby mattie » Sat Dec 01, 2007 11:12 pm

Yes, but the problem imo is that people from these countries expect us to adhere to their cultural values, but when in Britain we are offended at something or told how to live (by other cultures) we are told to accept it in the name of multiculturalism.


Like the case of extremists being allowed to express anti-western views in our streets. They were allowed to shout threats against Britain and the West about a year ago without being arrested!! It seems a tad hypocritical that we have to put up with their cultures in the Uk, and yet we have to be over sensitive to their cultures when in their countries.

Quite why someone would want to live or teach in Sudan in the first place, though, is beyond me! :?


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Postby intowiz » Sun Dec 02, 2007 12:30 am

i would say i think its fine for them to spout that stuff it shows what a free society we live in. BUT...... then i look further and people who are mearly silently protesting something are dragged away by the swine puppets because the goverment said they didnt agree. i find it to be very hypocritical.
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Postby parnassus » Sun Dec 02, 2007 12:31 am

mattie wrote:Yes, but the problem imo is that people from these countries expect us to adhere to their cultural values, but when in Britain we are offended at something or told how to live (by other cultures) we are told to accept it in the name of multiculturalism.


'The extremists' did not decide that Britain should be a multicultural society. That choice was made by British people who all hold the right to vote and who all have the right to make their views heard. Nobody forced us to be multicultural, least of all people who hold to the extremes of anything. We chose this as our system, and we chose it unilaterally.

Like the case of extremists being allowed to express anti-western views in our streets. They were allowed to shout threats against Britain and the West about a year ago without being arrested!! It seems a tad hypocritical that we have to put up with their cultures in the Uk, and yet we have to be over sensitive to their cultures when in their countries.


You make it sound as though people who hold extreme views in Britain (who are often British themselves) are somehow representative of the people in Sudan. As if they're all the same. The world does not consist of Britain and the Muslims or of Britain and the Middle East, no matter what the Daily Mail and newspapers like it might make out. The fact that people such as Egyptian-born Abu Hamza had the right to preach extremist sermons in London for years has no bearing on what goes on in the Sudan. We can't make such extrapolations.
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