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British Teacher Charged in Teddy Bear Flap

Jail, lashes could be punishment for 'insult to Islam' in Sudan
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2007 3:35 PM CST
British Teacher Charged in Teddy Bear Flap
A Sudanese man walks by the Unity High School in central Khartoum, Sudan, on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007. This elite private school is shut down since one of its teachers, Briton Gillian Gibbons, 54, was arrested on blasphemy charges for letting her students name a teddy bear Muhammad. Gibbons was charged...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – The British teacher held in Sudan for committing blasphemy by naming a teddy bear “Muhammed” has been charged with insulting religion, inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs, the BBC reports. The UK Foreign Secretary said he would summon the Sudanese ambassador; Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was "surprised and disappointed" that Gillian Gibbons might face the lash.

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The UK government hopes to "understand the rationale behind the charge" before deciding on a formal response. The Muslim Council of Britain was clear on its: "This disgraceful decision defies common sense. There was clearly no intention on the part of the teacher to deliberately insult the Islamic faith," a statement said. Gibbons is expected to appear in court tomorrow. (Read more Africa stories.)

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