Friday, November 30, 2007

“Kill her, kill her by firing squad.”

Sometimes, in order to walk in the light, it seems we happen upon some darkness. There is more than enough cruelty and inhumane behavior in the world, we all are aware of this, getting our regular doses through RSS, morning or evening news, or in the newspaper. And the focus of the blog really is to notice and reflect upon moments of illumination, but I could not keep quiet about this ...

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Calls in Sudan for Execution of British Teacher
By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN Published: December 1, 2007

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov. 30 — Hundreds of demonstrators in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, poured into the streets on Friday demanding the execution of a British teacher who was convicted of insulting Islam because her class of 7-year-olds named a teddy bear Muhammad. The protesters, some carrying swords, screamed, “Shame, shame on the U.K.!” and, “Kill her, kill her by firing squad.”

They were calling for the death of Gillian Gibbons, the teacher who was sentenced Thursday to 15 days in jail. Under Sudanese law, she could have spent six months behind bars and received 40 lashes.

The events that led to the furor began in September when Ms. Gibbons, who taught at one of Sudan’s most exclusive private schools, opened a project on animals and asked her class to suggest a name for a teddy bear. The class voted resoundingly for Muhammad, one of the most common names in the Muslim world.

As part of the exercise, Ms. Gibbons told her pupils to take the bear home, photograph it and write a diary entry about it. The entries were collected in a book, “My Name Is Muhammad.”

The government said that when some parents saw the book, they complained to the authorities.

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The article does go on to note that many of the protesters were government employees who had been ordered to demonstrate.

I cannot help but stop and wonder what Jesus would have to say about this. Or Buddha. Or, for that matter, Muhammad.

I remember a story once about an interview with John Lennon. The reporter asked if the Beatles would ever get back together, and my memory of the story is that John said something about the fans not understanding the music the first time around, why should they do it again? This seems so very similar.

•Read the entire article on the New York Times web site.

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