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  • Teddybear-gate escalates

    by Sunny
    30th November, 2007 at 5:57 pm    

    Reason #27856 that you shouldn’t listen to politically charged religious “leaders”: ‘Sudan demo over jailed UK teacher‘.

                  Post to

    Filed in: Current affairs,Religion

    45 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. Natty — on 30th November, 2007 at 6:57 pm  

      In regards to the Saudi case even Govt Ministers in Saudi have said the decision is outragous.

      As regards Sudan again it is a stupid decision based upon what was essentially a mistake. However the sad part about all this is that it will put off people going to the area to help the very people that need help to get an education and thus improve their lot in life.

      The long term implications are significant in that Sudan will suffer.

      Also it isn’t helping Islam as it just reflects badly.

      Again as I said these issues have been raised through history and answered by better scholars than those in Sudan, but again a lack of knowledge means people lash out.

      I hope the teacher is released soon.

    2. Keith — on 30th November, 2007 at 7:12 pm  

      Increasingly we see ‘taking offence’ as a political weapon, especially in the hands of evil religious leaders who whip up ignorant crowds to an irrational fever of blood-lust. It is disgusting and sad.

    3. Don — on 30th November, 2007 at 7:23 pm  

      I seriously doubt this could have happened without being sanctioned by someone very senior. It seems the complaint was not made by a parent but by a school secretary. I suspect it was an attempt at political leverage over Darfur.

      Initially the Sudanese ambassador dismissed it as a minor misunderstanding which would quickly be resolved. However when facing Inayat on Newsnight he had changed tack and was insisting that the law was entirely reasonable and must be followed. Inayat put up a pretty good show but was finally reduced to open-mouthed disbelief at the absolute refusal of the dip to engage with any of his well reasoned points.

    4. nodn — on 30th November, 2007 at 7:30 pm  

      Would any decent non-Christian name a soft toy Jesus? Not me.

      Jail is a bit extreme, but the parents were right not to be too impressed.

    5. Leon — on 30th November, 2007 at 7:30 pm  

      Is anyone else finding the nationalistic outrage a little suspect on this?

    6. Jai — on 30th November, 2007 at 7:39 pm  

      To call this a misunderstanding is an incredible understatement. I read in one of the major British newspapers a couple of days ago that the kid involved actually named the teddybear “Mohammad” after himself, not the prophet of Islam.

    7. ZinZin — on 30th November, 2007 at 7:44 pm  

      “Would any decent non-Christian name a soft toy Jesus? Not me.”

      Miss Gibbons did not choose the name, her muslim school children did. Pay attention.

    8. Bert Preast — on 30th November, 2007 at 8:36 pm  

      Religious fervour isn’t caused by books, buildings or traditions, is it? It’s caused by mad priests.

      For a darker angle, bin Laden’s lads well got the hump with Sudan a couple of months back over the UN force in Darfur business. Could there be a political angle, an attempt to regain favour?

    9. douglas clark — on 30th November, 2007 at 9:04 pm  

      It’s a funny thing. Some Christians used to, probably still do, name their child Jesus. Some Muslims name their child after the Prophet. When I was but a little lad and had some religious sensibilities, I always thought that that was a touch presumptuous. I’d have probably given them a right good tut tutting. But to embody it in law? No, that’s just going a bit too far.

      Nodn, if you named your Teddy Bear ‘The Holy Ghost’, I don’t think many Christians would give a toss. Think ‘American Pie’ for cultural appropriation of religious iconography.

      This is worth a watch, if you haven’t seen it before:

      The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost reference is right at the end.

    10. Bert Preast — on 30th November, 2007 at 9:07 pm  

      Jesus is a very popular name in Spain. Still seems rather odd to me.

    11. Leon — on 30th November, 2007 at 9:26 pm  

      Yep, I got a mate called that. Walks around in a toga, quite good at the old healing too…hmmm…

    12. douglas clark — on 30th November, 2007 at 9:38 pm  


      It’s a Friday night, what we need to know is can he turn water into wine? He could be really popular at parties.

    13. El Cid — on 30th November, 2007 at 9:42 pm  

      Walks around in a toga, quite good at the old healing too…hmmm…

      What are you on about Leon?

      Yes, Jesus very common in Spain and so is Mary as a middle name for boys. In fact Jesus Mari and Jose Maria are both very common. I once had a mate called Jesus Mary Shepherd — a frigging nativity play.
      He became a Satanist.

    14. douglas clark — on 30th November, 2007 at 9:48 pm  


      Egoism on behalf of your child is patently absurd, but something we all surrender to. Do Hindus name their children after their Gods? Or others?

      There is a hoary old joke, sort of, about this. A player for my club, Partick Thistle, was concussed during a game. The physio told the manager, “He’s OK, but he doesn’t know who he is”

      Said the blessed Lambie - the manager: “Well tell him he’s Pele and get him back on.”

      It is hope over dreary reality, is it not?

    15. douglas clark — on 30th November, 2007 at 9:53 pm  

      El Cid,


    16. douglas clark — on 30th November, 2007 at 10:01 pm  

      El Cid,

      He didn’t become an astrophysicist by any chance? It would explain a lot. :-)

    17. Bert Preast — on 30th November, 2007 at 10:15 pm  

      Douglas, I know of the story of which thou hast spake.

      But it pales into insignificance aside of the finest footy story ever, that of keeper Andy Goram being diagnosed schizophrenic. The chant?

      “Two Andy Gorams,
      There’s only two Andy Gorams”

    18. Bert Preast — on 30th November, 2007 at 10:17 pm  

      “I once had a mate called Jesus Mary Shepherd — a frigging nativity play.”

      Un belen andando :D

    19. douglas clark — on 30th November, 2007 at 10:54 pm  

      Bert @ 18,

      That is brilliant. I’d originally said fucking brilliant, but I didn’t want to shock anyone.


    20. Ravi Naik — on 30th November, 2007 at 11:03 pm  

      Un belen andando

      Un presepio andante? :)

    21. douglas clark — on 30th November, 2007 at 11:35 pm  

      Oh Ravi,

      If we can’t all speak English here, then I’ll need to take on my role of unpaid interpreter, yet again.

      Un belen andando

      This is frankly difficult to translate, until you realise that andando is some sort of sexual reference. As is ‘And’, ‘you’ and, well, ‘Andy’. This is a clear suggestion that group sex might be involved. May I reassure you that neither the nation, nor your national governments approve of that. Althought the Doubting Thomas’s amongst you that question my transliteration skills will undoubtedly burn in hell. Probably forever.

      Our disgust at these young fornicators is compounded by the phrase:

      Un presepio andante?

      This is so alien that I have had to swallow vallium to continue. These foreigners are attempting to corrupt us. Beware!

      It is quite clear that they are pissing on our otherwise biteable spaghetti. What sorts of fiends and, and err, aliens are these? I would suggest you take your women and children off to your country retreats until this alieness is defeated!

      Can I assure you that the Blackwater Boys will sort it for you? Well, maybe not you, exactly…..

    22. Bert Preast — on 30th November, 2007 at 11:41 pm  

      Ravi @ 21: You bastard. :(

    23. Nyrone — on 1st December, 2007 at 1:20 am  

      What is the real story here?
      This is like a report out of the onion…
      what on earth is the background to this? It can’t simply be because the teddy was given that name, what else is going on here?

      I know it fits into the whole ‘those crayzeeee Mozlems’ vibe we got going on right now, but does anyone feel they are only getting 1 simplified side of the story?

    24. contrarymary — on 1st December, 2007 at 1:46 am  

      from popbitch yesterday, not that it’s a reliable source of info…

      Port Sudan airport was until quite recently called
      Osama Bin Laden International, after the man who built
      it. Maybe that says something about the country.

    25. Keith — on 1st December, 2007 at 1:57 am  

      contrarymary - I believe the answer is that the British Government recently broke ranks and condemned (shock!) the Sudanese Government for presiding over the Darfur calamity. Sudan wanted to teach nasty old Britain a lesson. Picked on a real tough warier to make us think again….not.

      Liked the footy jokes.

    26. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2007 at 1:59 am  

      Un presepio andante?

      Ravi @ 21: You bastard.

      This is how much I care about you, BP. First I twisted my brains out trying to understand what you were going on about, and then decided to twist it a bit more. Only El Cid can set us free, and tell us the right way of saying the “travelling nativity scene”. :)

    27. Keith — on 1st December, 2007 at 2:03 am  

      Oops … I was answering Nyrone.

      As for Osama - that was probably before his mad-wit years, back when he was just a billionare oil aristocrat. If only people had talked to him - the Americans had not armed him - etc.

    28. SajiniW — on 1st December, 2007 at 8:44 am  

      Where are Miliband’s balls - he should’ve threatened stopping aid over this?

    29. Parma Violets — on 1st December, 2007 at 10:58 am  

      Sajini @ 29 -

      They haven’t fully descended yet. Give the wee chap some time.

    30. Jai — on 1st December, 2007 at 11:41 am  

      Ravi sahib,

      Un presepio andante?

      Translation please.



      Do Hindus name their children after their Gods?

      Yes, it’s pretty common. Examples: Ram/Rama, Krishna/Kishan/Govind/Govinda, Shiv/Shiva/Shankar, etc etc. Same for female names re: goddesses, eg. Parvati, Lakshmi etc.

    31. Morgoth — on 1st December, 2007 at 12:41 pm  

      If only people had talked to him - the Americans had not armed him - etc.

      The Americans did NOT arm him. In fact, they didn’t go near him with even a bargepole. There were, I recall, CIA reports from the time describing him as basically a nutter. The people who solely and wholly armed him and supported him were…the ISI.

    32. Don — on 1st December, 2007 at 2:32 pm  


      Using aid as leverage is usually a bad idea. The people orchestrating this are not aid-dependant and the people who need the aid almost certainly have no idea this is going on.

      Aid projects generally can’t be just switched off and on. Pull funding on a project and years of work can be wasted.

      Besides, upping the ante while the hostage (and that is effectively what she is) is in play can only endanger her in the macho posturing that is almost certain to follow.

      Also, politicising aid projects more than they already are will endanger aid workers even further.

    33. Bert Preast — on 1st December, 2007 at 2:38 pm  

      Ravi: My wife informs me that ‘Belen andante’ is the correct term.

      We’ll have to call this one a draw.

    34. Ravi Naik — on 1st December, 2007 at 3:46 pm  

      “We’ll have to call this one a draw.”

      Ok. But in that case, that’s “Belén andante” (travelling nativity scene). There is no excuse for an Englishman to miss on those accents. ;)

      Going back to the topic at hand. This is just a case of sleazy politics. Sudan has a lot of problems, and of course the government needs something to channel the anger and attention of its people to something as ridiculous as this. I feel really sorry for Africa for having such shortsighted people governing.

    35. Keith — on 1st December, 2007 at 3:58 pm  

      Morgoth - I agree (stand corrected) about the ISI arming Osama, but was this bankrolled by the US? Did they do it with the approval of the US - that is what I have been told. As I understand it, he was one of the great leaders supposed to oppose Communism in the general area. The fact he was a Wahabi fanatic was almost irrelevant to the US Gov. at the time. Then there was the invasion of Kuwait and the use of US troops ‘defiling the holy places’ and Osama decided to direct his war against the ‘West’. I’m interested to hear other sides of the story.

    36. Bert Preast — on 1st December, 2007 at 5:03 pm  

      Ravi: My excuse is a US keyboard and being too crap and lazy to do all that flashy ASCII stuff.

      Keith: Osama used the defiling the holy places line as an excuse. He wanted, and expected, Saudi Arabia to accept his offer to bring the mujahideen to defend the holy land. The king refused and accepted the US offer because he’s not entirely stupid and knew full well Osama’s intention was to overthrow the House of Saud and set up his own gang as the bosses. Which obviously had Osama foaming with rage into his beard. The man who would be king.

    37. Shoque — on 1st December, 2007 at 5:08 pm  

      A regime that is responsible for the Darfur atrocities is capable of spinning anything into an issue to gloat, squeal, and rabble rouse. All dirty dictatorial and religious politics.

    38. Chairwoman — on 1st December, 2007 at 5:35 pm  

      Douglas @ #10 - Thanks you for that link, entertaining and informative.

      American Pie reminds me of the time in my life when I had to start accepting responsibility for myself. It was also the beginning of the end of the time when real change seemed possible.

      Unfortunately it was just an illusion.

    39. El Cid — on 1st December, 2007 at 8:39 pm  

      Linguistic wars!
      If you’re gonna write accents, I won’t be able to compete.
      The correct translation for travelling/walking nativity play is .. um .. un belen ambulante or andante, I think.

      Douglas, nah he’s not an astrophysicist, I believe he became a plasterer. I would like to think that marriage and children turned him away from Beelzebub and into the arms of apathy.

      I officially named my new car Mohammed today.

    40. douglas clark — on 2nd December, 2007 at 6:41 am  


      You are very welcome. Good to hear from you again.

    41. Kulvinder — on 2nd December, 2007 at 10:04 am  

      Nice article from Jemima Khan in the telegraph.

    42. marvin — on 2nd December, 2007 at 7:47 pm  

      Get the Mohammed Teddy on Ebay for only £21,600 (that doesn’t include the £9.99 p&p, however).

      Ebay have been trying to eradicate these Mo teddies, but they just keep turning back up!

    43. sonia — on 3rd December, 2007 at 12:18 am  

      every male boy child born in bangladesh is lumped in with the name mohammed, its just about the most popular muslim name around. and the kids named the teddy bear anyway. its a compliment to a Prophet to have a teddy bear named after you!

    44. Sofi — on 3rd December, 2007 at 10:06 am


    45. Sofi — on 3rd December, 2007 at 10:08 am  

      >>lumped in with the name mohammed

      some would say ‘lumped’ and some ‘gifted’ :)

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