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You are in:Learning English > News English > Words in the News
 
Learning English - Words in the News
 
26 November, 2007 - Published 15:42 GMT
 
Sudan teacher arrested over teddy bear
 
A teddy bear (file image)
A teddy bear (file image)

A 54 year old British primary school teacher has been arrested in Sudan accused of insulting Islam's prophet by allowing her class of 7 year olds to name a teddy bear Mohammed. Gillian Gibbons could face several months in jail if she's convicted of blasphemy under Sudanese law. Amber Henshaw has more.

Listen to the story

Gillian Gibbons' colleagues at Unity High School in the Sudanese capital said they feared for her safety. They said there were reports that young men had already started gathering outside the Khartoum police station where she's being held.

The 54 year old primary teacher was arrested at her house in the school compound on Sunday afternoon. State media said she was being charged with blasphemy after allowing her class of 6 and 7 year olds to choose their favourite name for a teddy bear they were using as part of a school project. The pupils voted to call the cuddly toy Mohammed.

The school said Miss Gibbons had been following a British educational course designed to teach the children about animals and their habitats. She was taken into custody after complaints to the Ministry of Education.

Unity High School's director, Robert Bulos, insisted that the teacher had made an innocent mistake but he said he was concerned it could have serious consequences. As a result the school has decided to close until January. British Embassy officials in Khartoum are visiting Gillian Gibbons in custody.

Amber Henshaw, BBC News, Sudan

Listen to the words

feared for
were worried about

gathering
coming together and forming a group

compound
area that contains a group of buildings and has a fence or wall around it

being charged with blasphemy
being officially accused of committing the crime of insulting people's religion

teddy bear
a soft toy animal which looks like a bear

their habitats
their natural homes

taken into custody
put in prison because it was thought she had committed a crime

insisted
said strongly, firmly

concerned
worried

have serious consequences
cause big problems

 
 
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