Following services on Friday, thousands of Sudanese gathered in the streets of Khartoum and called for Gillian Gibbons to be put to death for insulting Islam. Gibbons is the British school teacher who allowed her students to name a teddy bear Muhammad. She was sentenced to serve 15 days in prison and to be deported from the country.
An angry mob gathered at Martyrs Square, outside the presidential palace, and shouted slogans:
“Shame, shame on the U.K.
“No tolerance: Execution, Kill her, kill her by firing squad.”
Meanwhile, Muslims in the UK continued to support Ms. Gibbons.
The Muslim Public Affairs Committee reacted to the conviction and said that the prosecution was:
“abominable and defies common sense.”
The Federation of Student Islamic Societies called for Sudan to release Gibbons, saying that it was obvious that she had not meant to cause offense. Ali Alhadithi, the group’s president stated:
“We are deeply concerned that the verdict to jail a schoolteacher due to what’s likely to be an innocent mistake is gravely disproportionate.”
Mohammed Shafiq, a spokesman for the Ramadhan Foundation, a Muslim youth organization, called for Sudanese President to pardon the teacher:
“The Ramadhan Foundation is disappointed and horrified by the conviction of Gillian Gibbons in Sudan.”
As one could expect, there was a firestorm of reaction in the UK to the conviction and treatment of Ms. Gibbons.
Comments: This situation seemed almost funny at first, but the conviction and now the mobs calling for execution have reached a level that it is nearly impossible to comprehend from a Western perspective.
The one good development coming out of this is the response of Muslims organizations in the UK. It is heartening to hear more moderate Islamic voices finally being expressed in the face of all the radical craziness.