Gillian Gibbons and Samina Malik

26 11 2007

Gillian Gibbons, a British school teacher working in Sudan was arrested yesterday for naming a teddy bear. It is reported that she allowed 6 year olds at the expensive English school to name the bear after Prophet Mohammed (saw). According to the Sudanese law a non-Muslim could face a maximum penalty of lashes, prison, a fine and deportation if found guilty of Blasphemy. (More on this at the bbc)

To some this may just be an innocent mistake, a mistake made by a 54 year old school teacher. But can she be excused for ignorance? I believe, anyone taking up a teaching profession or else in an hostile region like Sudan must at least make some effort to understand the sensitivities of the people. This level of ignorance can conveniently be interpreted as hatred by those waiting to be offended and being a minority means they are guilty until proven innocent. At least that was the case with the 23 year old Muslim girl charged with ‘Terrorism” for possessing a book, here in the UK.

Samina Malik, is a young Muslim woman who worked in a stationary shop. Her crime, she wrote poems under the alias ‘Lyrical Terrorist’ of somewhat graphical nature and out of sheer curiosity downloaded some articles from the internet. As a teenager she wrote love poems according to her viewpoint of life at the time, later her purpose of life or viewpoint changed as she turned to Islam and so did her subjects of poetry. Reading and watching atrocities against Muslims day and day out, she wrote poems to express her anger like most other anti-establishment teenagers. However, what she did not know was that one day her very writings will put her behind bars for six years, for unlike most other teenagers who are into violence, she is a Muslim.

Can we assume that both women have made innocent mistakes and they had no real intentions of harming anyone? They became victims of their own ignorance or should they be treated as guilty until proven innocent due to their minority status?? There are high chances of Gillian Gibbons facing deportation only… depending upon Sudan’s inability to withstand pressure from the West because she is a British national in Sudan. Whereas Samina Malik has no such chance, being a Muslim in Britain she is accused of embracing an ‘evil ideology’ according to Blair, where ‘all terrorists are Muslim’. But there is a striking difference between Sudan – a war torn third world country facing serious humanitarian crisis with no rule of law, and Britain.

further readings on Samina Malik case:

An attack on liberty

Think no evil? are you serious?

Terror Stricken

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