As every American schoolboy knows, the teddy bear was originally called “Teddy’s Bear”. The earliest teddy bear was a popular stuffed toy manufactured and sold in New York in the early 20th century after a bear cub became associated with President Theodore Roosevelt via a well-known political cartoon.
Mr. Roosevelt had developed a thick skin from his years in the rough-and-tumble of American politics, and he didn’t particularly mind his name being given to the teddy bear.
But the same can’t be said of Mohammed, who has taken great offense and sent his zealous servants to exact revenge: a British schoolteacher in Sudan faces prison and flogging for naming her pupils’ stuffed bear “Mohammed”. From today’s Daily Mail:
British teacher faces 40 lashes in Sudan for naming a teddy bear Mohamed
A British teacher is facing 40 lashes from police in Sudan where she has been accused of insulting Islam after naming a Teddy bear Mohamed.
Gillian Gibbons, 54, was being questioned at a police station in the capital Khartoum.
She had been working at one of the city’s exclusive British schools for the past three months since giving up her job in Liverpool.
Police arrived at the old-fashioned brick and stone buildings of the Unity High School on Sunday to arrest Miss Gibbons after a complaint from parents that she had named the bear after Islam’s most holy prophet Mohamed.
An angry mob shouted death threats as she was taken away.
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The school remained closed yesterday and children were sent home for fear of reprisals from Islamic extremists.
Robert Boulos, the school’s director, said the teacher had made an innocent mistake.
“We have lost one of our best teachers. She was maybe a little naive but she really had no idea what she was doing.”
The teddy bear had been brought to school by one of Miss Gibbon’s six and seven-year-old pupils as part of a project.
They were asked to take the bear home each weekend and keep a diary of his activities.
The class voted on a name and settled on Mohamed — also the name of one of the most popular pupils.
“No parents or teachers complained because they knew she had no bad intentions,” said Mr Boulos.
“She has done nothing wrong but now we are very concerned that there’s a risk to the school and the students from the men in the street.
He added that the problem only came to light last week after parents complained to the ministry of education.
The school would stay closed until January, he said.
Miss Gibbons faces six months in prison, a fine or 40 lashes if convicted of insulting the Prophet Mohamed.
There’s much more background at the full news story.
Notice that the little children themselves are the ones who named the bear. I wonder what punishment they will face…
Hat tip: HTP.