29 November 2007

On Blasphemy & Genocide

Personally, I'd have opted for forty lashes instead of 15 days imprisonment, but maybe Gillian Gibbons didn't have a choice over her punishment for allowing her pupils to name their class bear Muhammad after one of the seven-year-olds in their class — it would have made a far better photo for the world's media.

Given the Government's reaction to genocide in Sudan (not to mention the capture of our servicemen by Iran earlier this year), it is hardly surprising that they have done so little to intervene in what is essentially a political struggle between the various factions that have long been vying for control of the country.


Layreader said...

Muhammad Bear, with turban and sword, sounds like a best selling Christmas toy to me. Where can I buy one?

Layreader said...

Huh! Found one on eBay, if anyone else is interested.

Anonymous said...

Since when do 'criminals' have a choice of punishment?

Conditions in the jail may be bad but I certainly not opt for the lashes, even if (as you say)it would have gained world attention - in my mind just the reason the authorities chose NOT to inflict that punishment on the poor lady.

Cranmer said...

His Grace is a little surprised by the levity with which you treat this case. Very many people in certain Islamic countries are sentenced to 40 lashes - quite out of all proportion to their alleged misdemeanour - and some of these die as a consequence. It is a de facto death sentence meted out with appalling brutality.

You would not opt for this punishment over a fortnight in prison, and doubtless this poor schoolteacher would find your flippant remarks unacceptable, inapproriate, and more than a little unsympathetic from a magazine which exhorts the Christian principles of compassion, weeping with those who weep, and suffering with our brothers and sisters all over the world who face real persecution day after day.

John said...

I apologise if I gave the impression of levity when in fact what I meant to convey is incredulity.

My point - one with which I am sure His Grace will agree - is that the British Government has acted with enormous cowardice in a gravely serious matter. It has effectively abandoned an innocent woman to a terrible fate rather than get its hands dirty doing its job of protecting its citizens.

For the record, as someone who faced trumped up charges and the very real threat of imprisonment when working for a humanitarian agency in a corrupt Muslim country in the developing world, I think I can relate extremely well to the roller coaster of emotions that Gillian will have experienced throughout this sorry episode - which is why my remarks were anything but flippant and why she has my full sympathy.

Anonymous said...

The British Establishment are in a Bind of their own Making.
Having sold the British to Islam, they can't very well start laying the law down to Muslims, they are the chosen ones.