Kill a teacher for allowing some kids to name a teddy bear Mohammad? Are you serious
KHARTOUM, Sudan (CNN) -- Hundreds of protesters brandishing swords and sticks gathered outside Khartoum's presidential palace Friday to vent their anger against a British teacher jailed for allowing children to name a teddy bear "Mohammed."
About 600 Islamic demonstrators piled out of mosques, chanting: "By soul, by blood, I will fight for the Prophet Mohammed." Some of the protesters demanded the teacher's execution, according to The Associated Press.
The agency reports that some chanted: "No tolerance: Execution," and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad."
The decision by a Sudanese court to jail Gillian Gibbons late Thursday was widely criticized outside Sudan as too harsh, with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband saying he was "extremely disappointed" the charges were not dismissed.
Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karouri, a prominent cleric and hardliner, told worshippers Friday at the Martyrs Mosque: "Imprisoning this lady does not satisfy the thirst of Muslims in Sudan. But we welcome imprisonment and expulsion," according to AP. But he did not urge worshippers to protest.
In leaflets distributed earlier this week by Muslim groups and seen by CNN, the protesters promised a "popular release of anger" at demonstrations called for Friday.
The leaflets condemned Gibbons as an "infidel" and accused her of "the pollution of children's mentality" by her actions. Don't Miss
* Teacher charged in teddy bear case * Bid to stop whipping * TIME.com: The blasphemous teddy bear * Web site: Unity High School
The teacher was convicted of insulting religion but cleared of two other charges of inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs, Ali Ajeb, her lawyer said. Watch latest developments in the case Video
Ajeb said they were planning to appeal the sentence, which runs from the date she was first detained, November 25.
Gibbons, 54, is being held in a woman's prison in the Omdurman district of Khartoum and she will be deported at the end of her prison term, British consular officials in the city told CNN.
Embassy staff said they were giving the teacher, from the northern English city of Liverpool, full consular assistance. Video Watch a report on reactions to the verdict »
Omer Mohammed Ahmed Siddig, the Sudanese ambassador to Britain, was summoned for a second time to meet with the British foreign secretary late Thursday after the court's ruling.
Miliband also spoke to the Sudanese acting foreign minister for 15 minutes on the telephone during the meeting, the British Foreign Office said.
"Our priority now is to ensure Ms. Gibbons' welfare and we will continue to provide consular assistance to her," Miliband said in a statement.
The Foreign Office said there would be further talks with the Sudanese government Friday.
Gibbons was arrested Sunday after she asked her class of seven-year-olds in Khartoum to name the toy as part of a school project, the Foreign Office said.
She had faced charges under Article 125 of Sudan's constitution, the law relating to insulting religion and inciting hatred.
She could have faced a sentence of 40 lashes, a fine or jail term of up to a year, according to the Foreign Office, which expressed Britain's dissatisfaction with the verdict.
British newspapers condemned Gibbons' conviction, with The Daily Telegraph calling for the recall of the British ambassador from Khartoum and sanctions against the heads of the Sudanese government.
In an editorial the tabloid newspaper, The Sun, said Gibbons' jailing was a "grotesque insult to Islam" and called Gibbons "an innocent abroad."
Four vans filled with riot police were stationed outside the courthouse at Thursday's hearing, but there were no signs of street disturbances or protests.
Staff from Gibbons' school, including Robert Boulos, the head of Unity High School, were present.
Boulos said he was "horrified" when he found out it was a member of his own staff who complained, not a parent as originally thought.
Defense counsel later confirmed that the complaint came from Sarah Khawad, a secretary at the school. advertisement
Gibbons has been working at the school -- popular with wealthy Sudanese and expatriates -- since August, after leaving her position as deputy head teacher at a primary school in Liverpool this summer, Boulos said.
He said Gibbons asked the children to pick their favorite name for the new class mascot, which she was using to aid lessons about animals and their habitats.
Anyone who understands Islam should know that there are strict rules regarding how Mohammed is portrayed. This is clearly culture clash and although I don't like this, I can understand why Muslim are angry.
I'm curious to know how many of her students were muslim though.
Here's another example of religious zealotry. (although not as severe)
Boy who refused treatment on religious grounds dies SEATTLE, Washington (AP) -- A few hours after a judge ruled that a 14-year-old Jehovah's Witness sick with leukemia had the right to refuse a blood transfusion that might have helped him, the boy died, a newspaper reported.
A judge said Dennis Lindberg, shown in 2005, "understands the consequences of his decision."
Dennis Lindberg died Wednesday night at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, his father, Dennis Lindberg Sr., told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Hospital spokeswoman Teri Thomas said she could not confirm or deny anything about the case at the request of the boy's legal guardian, his aunt Dianna Mincin.
Earlier Wednesday, Skagit County Superior Court Judge John Meyer had denied a motion by the state to force the boy to have a blood transfusion. The judge said the eighth-grader knew "he's basically giving himself a death sentence."
"I don't believe Dennis' decision is the result of any coercion. He is mature and understands the consequences of his decision," the judge said during the hearing.
"I don't think Dennis is trying to commit suicide. This isn't something Dennis just came upon, and he believes with the transfusion he would be unclean and unworthy."
Doctors had given Dennis a 70 percent chance of surviving the next five years with the transfusions and other treatment, the judge added.
Don't Miss KIRO: Judge: Boy can refuse blood transfusion Doctors diagnosed the boy's leukemia in early November. They began chemotherapy at Children's Hospital, but stopped a week ago because his blood count was too low, the Skagit Valley Herald reported. The boy refused the transfusion on religious grounds.
However, his birth parents, Lindberg and Rachel Wherry, who do not have custody and flew from Boise, Idaho, to be at the hearing, believed their son should have had the transfusion and suggested he had been unduly influenced by his aunt, who is also a Jehovah's Witness.
The aunt has declined to talk about the case.
The boy's father told the Post-Intelligencer the ruling shocked him but after visiting his son later Wednesday, he decided not to appeal. He said doctors told him Wednesday evening that the boy, unconscious since Tuesday, had likely suffered brain damage.
josebach wrote:Here's another example of religious zealotry. (although not as severe)
Boy who refused treatment on religious grounds dies
That's tough. He's only 14 so I don't think giving him this kind of control is the wisest thing to do, but at the same time, I might feel like the aunt made the mistake if she were to make this decision. Ultimately, I think the judge made the right call in letting the boy make the decision on his own.