The AP reports that mobs are roaming the streets in the Sudan looking to lynch the British "teddy bear" teacher:
Khartoum, Sudan (AP) - Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and swords and beating drums, burned pictures of a British teacher Friday and demanded her execution for insulting Islam by letting her students name a teddy bear Muhammad.
Sudan's Islamic government, which has long whipped up anti-Western, Muslim hard-line sentiment at home, was balancing between fueling outrage over the case of Gillian Gibbons and containing it.
The government does not want to seriously damage ties with Britain, but the show of anger underlines its stance that Sudanese oppose Western interference, lawyers and political foes said. The uproar comes as the U.N. is accusing Sudan of dragging its feet on the deployment of peacekeepers in the war-torn Darfur region.
Many in the protesting crowd shouted "Kill her! Kill her by firing squad!"
In response to the rally in central Khartoum, Gibbons was moved from the women's prison across the Nile in Oumdurman to a secret location, her chief lawyer Kamal al-Gizouli told the Associated Press. He said he visited her there to discuss her conviction Thursday on charges of insulting Islam.
The 54-year-old Gibbons, who was sentenced to 15 days in jail, spoke Friday with her son John and daughter Jessica in Britain by telephone.
"One of the things my mum said today was that I don't want any resentment towards Muslims," the son told AP. "She's holding up quite well."
The Times Online reports that Lord Ahmed has been sent to pour oil on troubled waters:
Lord Ahmed, Britain’s first Muslim peer, is due to meet President Bashir of Sudan today in an effort to secure the release of a primary school teacher jailed for blasphemy.
A source close to the Sudanese Government said that it would consider offering Gillian Gibbons a pardon so she could fly home within days.
Ms Gibbons was being held at a secret location last night after hundreds of protesters, some of them wielding knives and ceremonial swords, called for her execution.
I think the incitement here is not entirely on the Sudanese side. The supine behavior of the West, abject surrender to every demand, it's willingness to shame and degrade itself without limit, is in large part responsible for the provocations now directed toward it. Some people are already ready to admit it's Gillian Gibbons's fault. Newsbusters.org reports this talk-show exchange on "The View":
SHERRI SHEPHERD: I think it’s like it’s sacrilegious to name a stuffed toy Muhammad. But you know, you would think that with her being in Sudan, she would know the rules and customs. Because I know I performed stand up in Turkey, and they gave me a big thick packet on the customs, and what you could and could not do, and how you would offend people. So I’m surprised that she didn’t know it might be offensive.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Yeah, because you’d think if you’re going overseas, I mean, we had this discussion yesterday about people coming to America and learning the customs and knowing what is cool, and what isn’t cool. But I find that maybe we are not- and I say we just as European and American, we’re not as anxious to learn the customs before we go places. It’s just one of the reasons we’re called the ugly Americans.
But you have to know something to call people "ignorant". As information from Astrolabe, an Australian Muslim site shows, age-old Muslim "holy customs" are sometimes made up on the spur of the moment to suit political requirements. There is apparently no prohibition against naming teddy bears for Muslim prophets. However this is unlikely to dissuade those who want the West to apologize on every occasion, out of general principles. The cries "cut off the blasphemer's head!, cut off the blasphemer's head!" are likely to be echoed by its Western equivalent: "we're still guilty! we're still guilty!"
What is clear, however, is that much of the discussion around it being completely and utterly forbidden for teddy bears to be given the same name as Prophets is somewhat misinformed. There is a reason, for example, why we haven’t seen the hordes calling for the people selling Adam the Muslim Prayer Bear or Adam’s World to be decapitated.
A picture of the "Adam the Muslim Prayer Bear" as sold on SimplyIslam.com is shown below.