Teddy bear teacher pardoned

Gillian Gibbons is free and presumably on her way back to the UK.

A British school teacher jailed in Sudan for two weeks after allowing her students to name a teddy bear Muhammad was freed Monday following a pardon by the Sudanese president.

President Omar al-Bahir’s pardon of Gillian Gibbons allowed her to leave prison before the end of her 15-day sentence, and ended a diplomatic tangle with what British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called a victory for “common sense.”

Bashir pardoned Gibbons, 54, of Liverpool, after meeting with two Muslim members of Britain’s House of Lords, Nazir Ahmed and Sayeeda Warsi, who had traveled to the predominantly Muslim African nation to lobby for her release…

British Muslim groups spoke out strongly in favor of Gibbons and said the Sudanese government’s actions in the case have created greater misunderstandings about Islam.

“This has certainly given ammunition to those who never miss an opportunity to portray Muslims as intolerant,” Bunglawala said. “We only hope that the actions of Lord Ahmed and Baroness Warsi and the whole British Muslim community can mitigate against the damage done by the Sudanese authorities.”

This is obviously great news, but leave it to me to find the dark cloud behind it. Sudan mainly responded as it did after it heard from British Muslims. Sudan didn’t listen to the British Prime Minister or to common sense or even, really, to the international outrage that accompanied its decision to jail a woman for no legitimate reason. And even now, she was pardoned and had to leave, not exonerated and her many dangerous accusers told to stand down.

Point two, and we’ll have to wait and see on this, but I’d be surprised if threats to Gibbons’ life don’t follow her from that jail house in Khartoum all the way back to Britain. And, as this clip from The View shows, there are plenty of idiots outside Sudan who more or less sided with convicting Gibbons over this.

Update: And I’d be remiss not to mention that the Gibbons case has already sent Mohammed the Mole to the dustbin of history.

A British children’s author who called one of his characters Mohammed the Mole to promote multiculturalism has renamed him Morgan so as not to offend Muslims.

Kes Gray said the case of British teacher Gillian Gibbons, who has been jailed in Sudan for allowing her class of primary school children to name a teddy bear Mohammed, had prompted him to postpone a reprint of his book, Who’s Poorly Too, and change the name.

“I had no idea at all of the sensitivities of the name Mohammed until seeing this case in Sudan,” Gray told The Sunday Times.

“As soon as I saw the news I thought, ‘Oh gosh, I’ve got a mole called Mohammed – this is not good’.”

Update: Exit question: What will the Islam is Peace campaign have to say about this?