Saturday, 1 December 2007

A storm in a teacup at a teddy bears picnic

This whole ridiculous fuss being made about the naming of a Teddy-Bear needs putting into perspective. I guess I risk 15 days hard time for this!

If this News item had broken at the beginning of April I would have naturally assumed that it was from the same people who came up with the great Spaghetti tree scandal.

For those 3 people left in the UK who haven’t heard this story, an English teacher in Sudan, during a perfectly innocent class discussion with 10 year olds, decided, at the children’s request to call the class Teddy; Muhammad. She has now been imprisoned and some are even calling for her execution!

Ironic, isn’t it, that the child, who came up with this lofty Teddy title, was called Muhammad.

Now I believe that everyone has the right to their views and beliefs and they also have the right to express indignation and disgust at another’s lack of respect for that belief.

This is not the story of a politically motivated extremist wilfully and intentionally insulting an opposing view. This was an earnest, hard working schoolteacher, who made a minor cultural error.

It’s not ok to call a cuddly harmless and lovable teddy Muhammad, but ok to call a small child it. Now lets just think about this. Which is more disrespectful? A harmless lovable toy, or your typical 10-year old boy who spends most of his time with dirty knees, a finger up his nose and a dead beetle in a matchbox?

The world is full of really serious international political and religious problems. Why has this tiny tiny issue been allowed to be used by a minor group of extremists to make it look like many Muslims hate Westerners, when clearly the two ideologies cohabit quite happily in the vast majority of places.

The prophet Muhammad is spoken of as a wise and reasonable man who had great diplomatic skills uniting many opposing tribes, which existed during his life. Surely he would not have executed an innocent woman for a momentary lack of insight. So where are this tiny number of his followers, getting their authority to pass judgement on her?

I fully agree that when abroad you follow the rules of that country. What I do not agree with is governments allowing the political hijacking of minor events by extreemists, when there are far more important issues that need debating.

I used to be a Christian – would I have been justified in executing everyone who calls their pit bull terrier or their goldfish; Jesus? I guess the Jews set the precedent for this by crucifying Jesus for claiming to be the son of God. They set the original benchmark in stupidity. Have we learned nothing in the last 2000 years?

After the success of Paddington Bear, Rupert Bear and Pooh Bear, perhaps this new recruit also has a future in print.


Cruella said...

Very good point Jools. What made me squeal was Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, coming out (not like that) and saying the situation was "ridiculous". So lets see - that's our (not actually mine) religious leader saying their religious leaders shouldn't be telling them what to do... Surely the best way for Williams to make his point is to shut up and respect our secular society...?

Byron Hønige said...

I would giver her 20 lashes for being stupid and naïve. Didn't she ever see the Life of Brian. No-one should travel without this watching this excellent informative documentary on how to behave abroad. "Are there any women here????"