Thankfully many in the U.K. Muslim community have spoken out about the recent incident in the Sudan where a British teacher has been convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear “Muhammad.” While some Sudanese are marching in the streets of Khartoum near the school calling for her execution many Muslims in the U.K are asking the government to pardon her and accept her apologies.
Here are some of the responses from Muslim leaders in the U.K.:
Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, accused the Sudanese authorities of “gross overreaction.”
“This case should have required only simple common sense to resolve. It is unfortunate that the Sudanese authorities were found wanting in this most basic of qualities,” he said.
The Muslim Public Affairs Committee, a political advocacy group, said the prosecution was “abominable and defies common sense.”
The Federation of Student Islamic Societies, which represents 90,000 Muslim students in Britain and Ireland, called on Sudan’s government to free Gibbons, saying she had not meant to cause offense.
“We are deeply concerned that the verdict to jail a schoolteacher due to what’s likely to be an innocent mistake is gravely disproportionate,” said the group’s president, Ali Alhadithi.
The Ramadhan Foundation, a Muslim youth organization, said Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir should pardon the teacher.
“The Ramadhan Foundation is disappointed and horrified by the conviction of Gillian Gibbons in Sudan,” said spokesman Mohammed Shafiq.
It’s reassuring to see some urging calm and forgiveness. If we’re all going to survive in this ever-shrinking world we’re all going to need to develop thicker skin and more mercy when others trespass.