Teddy Bear Fiasco Allows Intolerance to Flourish

The British schoolteacher who was convicted of insulting Muslims by having her children name a teddy bear Mohamed is being placed in a secret location because a mob of 600 protestors shouted, “Shame on the UK,” and “No tolerance, Execution.” The Sudan government has placed itself into a quandary, by allowing the silly situation to even begin. It has enabled just about every fanatic in the Sudan to rush to grab the limelight of extremism by shouting hate and anger against a Westerner. Noted hard line cleric Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karori, urged on people bent on hate with, “Imprisoning this lady does not satisfy the thirst of Muslims in the Sudan.” Fortunately, in England, the British Federation of Student Muslim Societies denounced the sentence as being out of all proportion to the crime.

There are some who support sentencing a teacher who named a teddy bear on grounds each nation’s culture should be respected. One can understand another culture, but this does not mean accepting it makes any sense when practices go against universal codes of conduct and morality. Genital cutting of women is deplorable even if it is defended on grounds that “it is our culture.” Nazi Germany had its “own culture” but few today defend its practices. The Sudan government used a silly incident as a means of reinforcing its own power and of pretending to stand up against Western critics of its failed and deplorable policies in Darfur. This entire matter has nothing to do with naming teddy bears, it is a blatant play to the crowd effort by a pack of sadistic rulers of the Sudan who kill thousands and then supposedly become upset because of a teddy bear.

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  • http://davidvenezia@gmail.com David Venezia

    I would like to start out by saying that I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog, Fred. You were cited on the Reuters website yesterday, and since then I’ve been waiting on your posts as a point of interest throughout the day.

    In my opinion, your thoughts on the situation in Sudan (as regards the teddy bear incident) are insightful. As the situation develops, it seems that Sudanese officials may be playing a kind of impoverished cat and mouse game with the west. Like you have already said, what else would be the sense in detaining a British citizen for something that would inevitably become a tidbit of controversial international news? In fact, Reuters reported yesterday that the teacher wasn’t even responsible for naming The Teddy Bear, and the parents of her students had already seen a handout about the bear before this ‘fiasco.’
    Finally, however, I have a question for you. When you write,”One can understand another culture, but this does not mean accepting it makes any sense when practices go against universal codes of conduct and morality,” I think about all the delicate conversations I’ve had with students and friends from all over the world concerning conflicting cultural practices. You go on to say that “Genital cutting of women is deplorable even if it is defended on grounds that ‘it is our culture.’ Nazi Germany had its ‘own culture’ but few today defend its practices.”
    I’m wondering if you mean to correlate the socio-political situation in Germany during the 1920′s and 30′s with modern societies that mandate genital mutilation, or if you simply use the starkness of the Nazi example to make your point.

  • http://www.theimpudentobserver.com Fred Stopsky

    You make good points. Nazi Germany definitely had a “culture.” We are justifiably horrified at its culture, and would not allow a Nazi to justify his behavior on grounds he was merely following his culture. I find too many multiculturalists are on intellectually invalid grounds when they claim each culture has to be “respected.” I do not “respect” the Wahhabi Saudi Arabian culture which degrades women and practices barbaric ideas like beheading people. There is a difference between “understanding” a culture and “respecting it.” Too frequently many multiculturalists do not grasp the difference.