26 November 2007

What's In Another Name?

Rosie Reading Bear on holiday in CambridgeAt half-term my daughter had the privilege of looking after the class teddy, Rosie Reading Bear, and then writing in the bear's diary about what they did together. Six-to-seven-year-old pupils at Khartoum's Unity High School, an independent school for Christian and Muslim children in Sudan following the British national curriculum, were allowed to choose their own name for their bear and came up with a shortlist of eight of their favourite names, including Abdullah, Hassan, and Muhammad. Twenty out of the 23 children voted for Muhammad. Three months later, certain parents have complained to Sudan's Ministry of Education that this is an insult to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, resulting in the arrest of their British teacher, Gillian Gibbons from Liverpool, and the temporary closure of the school for fear of reprisals. Her punishment could be up to six months in jail, forty lashes, or a fine.

You couldn't make it up, could you?! Reminds me of another Muslim country, where parents are unable to give their children Christian names. I wonder if anyone has considered punishing the twenty mischievous children responsible for naming the bear.

Anyone care to suggest what lesson the pupils may have learnt from the whole affair?


Steve said...

Trying to introduce democracy in certain countries is a dangerous exercise?

Me said...

A lesson for the LibDems perhaps: under-18s shouldn't be allowed to vote.