Mohammad the Teacher and the Teddy Bear

almanack teddy bear news shotI’m so angry about the Sudanese Teddy Bear Gillian Gibbons situation. The initial threat of forty lashes, six months in prison and a possible heavy fine was disgusting. It may have made people relax when it was reduced to fifteen days in reasonable accommodation, but even the notion of punishing her for allowing her pupils to name the teddy bear Mohammad; not directly after the Prophet but after a school-boy in her class, is as dangerous as it is ridiculous.

The hardliners in any branch of society usually win and the subdued and politically-correct response of the British Government to this Sudanese political side-show seems to have been bland. Amanda Platell in the Mail wrote: the British Government could have suspended the 300+ million we give in aid and threatened the 2000 visas we give to Sudan each year.”

The Muslim Council of Great Britain is shocked; I watched their representative on BBC News 24, listening in incredulity and disbelief, to a Sudanese representative as he defended this most stupid and hurtful of convictions.

There is also the possibility that the Sudanese government now finds itself between a rock and a hard place. Extreme fundamentalist religious pressure has forced them to imprison an innocent woman over the naming of a symbol of Love after the Prophet and founder of Islam; if they release her too early, they will alienate the fundamentalists in the society they govern; if they keep her in captivity for the offence of accepting the name chosen by the children in her care, they will attract widespread derision and damage even if only slightly, the international perception and standing of what is one of the largest and most devout religions in the world.1. OSAMA BIN LADEN

It is counter-productive to see extremist Muslim behaviour as in any way representative of the Muslim faith, which preaches tolerance. There are too many examples of religious/political terrorism world-wide, but the extreme level of the violence shown in the twin towers and the London bombings has cast a shadow. Christianity, Judaism and Islam spring from the same root and are related to each other. Relatives however often understand each other least - and fight the most.

The teddy bear saga is as relevant to the Christian as it is to the Muslim, and it would be well for the Christian who thinks that Jesus was a fair-haired aesthetic handsome Nordic man of perfect western morals, to consider what he must have really looked like and to look at how the Christian and Muslim forms of worship interlink - Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Isa and (Jesus) Jesus is very special, no matter what religion is practiced.

jesus-face-29 As long as it is sincere and from the heart, people of any faith or belief must have the right to say what they think, believe in what they desire and worship as they please and their actions should be seen in the light of the intention behind them - as should the actions of the unfortunate Gillian Gibbons. The Teddy Bear is a symbol of Love which has been responded to with hostility. The Sudanese should have sought to understand that symbol before denouncing it and in consequence, damaging a world religion even if only slightly, through the actions of a few who have the power to control the many.

One of the chief tools of the Priest or the Politician is Fear, aided by Indifference. The punishment of God and the Fear of Hell has kept congregations under control until recently. Now that only a relatively few people really believe in eternal damnation and the punishment of God; church attendance has declined, except for weddings, funerals and other theatrical events. I have been to many excellent churches however - it’s just that in relation to the number of people who don’t attend…

I received a reply from a theoretical physicist in response to my question about the existence of God: (search for thread 77816 ~ A God for an Atheist)

“If God exists, and I firmly believe he does, He is a matter of definition. His existence is implicit to the 800px-OurLittleTeddiescosmos, and in certain very definitive ways, very explicit too. [……] I compare God with a “Shark” out of deference to my atheistic friends…to let them and everybody know that 1. God is not the property of any religion, 2. to infer that God is inscrutable…we can not understand his ways, which sometimes seem “shark-like” to us, and 3. to emphasize that God is in total control of what goes on in the universe…that at its core, the universe is a very deterministic place…QM (quantum mechanics) notwithstanding!”

“God is not the property of any religion…”

But Love is Universal.

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© | 12:13 am on December 3, 2007| edit | link |

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