Sudan Will Jail, Deport Teddy Bear Teacher

Gibbons gets 15 days and the boot for bear named 'Muhammad'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2007 1:08 PM CST

(Newser) – A Sudanese court sentenced British schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons to 15 days in prison and deportation from Sudan for inciting religious hatred by allowing her students to name a class teddy bear Muhammad, the Guardian reports. The sentence represented something of a success for British officials, who had said they would do everything possible to prevent Gibbons from receiving 40 lashes, a possible sentence.

Gibbons’ case won’t hurt British-Sudanese relations, said a member of Sudan’s London embassy, blaming “sensationalist” reporting for blowing the incident out of proportion. Sudan’s top clerics meanwhile called the bear part of a Western plot against Islam. That, in turn, angered British Muslims. “The Sudanese government must refrain from using Islam to legitimize this fiasco,” one said, “which will only lead to further demonization of Islam.”