SHADMIA'S WORLD

Just Another Guy with Opinions

Sudan Pardons “Teddy Teacher”

Posted by shadmia on December 4, 2007

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Gillian Gibbons, 54, the British teacher who was at the center of a diplomatic standoff between Britain and the Sudan, has been freed. She had been convicted and sentenced to 15 days in jail and then deportation, for “inciting hatred and insulting Islam” by naming a teddy bear “Muhammad”. For more details click here

In a written statement Gibbons said:

“I have been in Sudan for only four months but I have enjoyed myself immensely. I have encountered nothing but kindness and generosity from the Sudanese people. I have great respect for the Islamic religion and would not knowingly offend anyone. I am sorry if I caused any distress.” “I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends, but I am very sorry that I will be unable to return to Sudan.”

In London, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was delighted and relieved by the news. “Common sense has prevailed. She will be released into the care of our embassy in Khartoum after what must have been a difficult ordeal he said in a statement.

Sudan’s ambassador in London, Khalid al-Mubarak, also reacted positively.

“She is a teacher who went to teach our children English and she has helped a great deal and I am very grateful,” al-Mubarak said. “What has happened was a cultural misunderstanding, a minor one, and I hope she, her family and the British people won’t be affected by what has happened.”

In an interview Gibbons’ son, John Gibbons, 27, expressed his gratitude to everyone involved in securing the release of his mother.

Gibbons’ freedom was due in large part to the efforts of two Muslim members of the British Parliament, Lord Nazir Ahmed and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi. They had traveled to the Sudan and met with many high ranking Sudanese government officials seeking an audience with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. After waiting for two days they were allowed to see him and convinced him that Gillian Gibbons had committed a “cultural mistake” and not a crime worthy of a prison sentence. President Omar al-Bashir issued the pardon that set Gibbons free and on her way back to England.

 

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