Calling Teddy Bear a God

30 11 2007

Who would have thought that giving a teddy bear a prophet’s name would shake the diplomatic world within a matter of days?

But Gillian Gibbons now sits in a Sudanese prison while some Muslims ask that she be “shot by a fire squad” for disrespecting their religion. There were also some rumors about lashing Gibbons in the public as a punishment.

Where exactly is the line though? Putting a turban on the prophet’s head with a bomb on it was, I agree, taking it to another level. But should naming a teddy bear Muhammad should have never become this big of a deal.

The prophet’s name is one of the most common Arabic names. According to the BBC,

The Arabic name Muhammad is now the second popular name for baby boys in Britain, adding together its 14 different spellings in English.

And while one political editor of a Middle Eastern magazine says that the Muslim children give their pets the names of characters they like, whatever that may be, things were taken out of context because this was a westerner who Sudanese Muslims feel “offended Islam.”

And now the Sudanese blogosphere is responding to this issue. Many Sudanese bloggers are criticizing the government’s decision to imprison her.

Asking for Gibbons’ release, many have called the issue “pathetic” and termed Gibbons’ acts as “an honest and innocent mistake.”

Read BBC’s compilation of Sudanese blogs which wrote about this.

religion-toys.jpgOn a completely different note, I thought to myself how other religions handle gods, prophets and toys. I found toys of Jesus and Moses, and now of Hindu god Rama and Hanumana. These probably don’t compare to calling a bear [whose name is Teddy] Muhammad [who is a prophet].

But imagine the Christians and the Hindus imprisoning people because they made toys of their gods or called their teddy bears “the son of god” or “Shiva.”

Anyways, Sudan blew things out of proportion. How do they even justify adhering to their religion so strictly when they have killed over thousands and thousands of their own people in Darfur just because they are African Arabs?

I don’t think the prophet is too happy about that, either.

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First raped, then sentenced to jail

15 11 2007

A 19-year-old girl in Saudi Arabia, who was gang-raped 14 times almost two years ago, is now facing jail sentence and double the number of lashes, after the judges ruled that she was violating the sex segregation laws by being in a car of an unrelated person.

moderate_saudi_arabia.jpgHer punishment was increased from 90 lashes to 200 lashes and six months in jail.

However, the Sunni men who raped her are only getting one to five years in prison.

So much for equality and justice for women even though king Abdullah says he is an advocate of broader women’s rights.





Hindus and Terrorism?

29 10 2007

For those who don’t get a good glimpse of South Asian journalism, Himal magazine has a very interesting article titled “Saffron Terror” about what it describes as a rise in militant Hindutva. Subash Gatade, the writer attempts to make draw some similarities between Hindu militancy and other forms of terrorism.

trishul3.jpgbajrang-women.jpg

In this photo from Himal: Trishul; members from Bajrang Dal women’s brigade

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