Khartoum, Asharq Al-Awsat- A Sudanese court sentenced the British teacher, Gillian Gibbons, Thursday, to 15 days in prison on charges of insulting Islam after allowing her students to name a teddy bear Mohammed. Gibbons is expected to be deported after carrying out her sentence.
The British government has stated that it would push for the teacher’s release.
Gibbons had one of her seven-year-old students bring in a teddy bear then asked the class to name it and they chose the name Mohammed. Each student then took the teddy bear home to write a diary entry about it, and the entries were compiled into a book with the bear’s picture on the cover, entitled “My Name is Mohammed,” explained Robert Boulos, the director of Gibbons’ Unity High School.
But an office assistant at the school, Sara Khawad, complained to the Ministry of Education that Gibbons had insulted the Prophet Mohammed. Khawad testified at Thursday’s trial, chief defense lawyer Kamal Djizouri said.
Khawad “was doing this out of revenge against the administration,” Djizouri said. He did not elaborate. But the director of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association, Isam Abu Hasabu, claimed Khawad had argued with the principal before the incident.
Elsewhere, the seven-year-old Sudanese schoolchild, who named his teddy bear Mohammed, defended his British teacher in the local Sudanese press, saying “the teacher asked me what name I wanted to call my teddy bear and I told her Muhammad. I named it after my own name.”