Sudan: The great teddy bear fiasco

Gillian Gibbons’s recent imprisonment in Sudan led Albaqir A Mukhtar to ask if the Khartoum government is protecting Islam or defiling it

Gilllian Gibbons

The naming of a teddy bear after a pupil, and not after the Prophet of Islam, is for all intents and purposes a trivial matter. It does not constitute an insult of Islam, or a blasphemous act. In a normal setting, English teacher Gillian Gibbons would probably be informed by her Sudanese colleagues that toys are not normally given names in the local culture, and that if the need arises to name a toy, people usually give it a foreign name. That’s all that was needed in such a case. So why was such a trivial matter blown up out of proportion to become an international issue?