Learning English - Words in the News
26 November, 2007 - Published 15:42 GMT
Sudan teacher arrested over teddy bear
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.
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
being charged with blasphemy
taken into custody
have serious consequences