Protests against “Muhammed teddy bear” teacher break out, execution called for


"Shame, shame on the U.K.," thousands of armed Sudanese protestors shouted, as they spilled out of their mosques after their Friday services to rail against Gillian Gibbons, a teacher from Britian that they claim insulted Muhammad.

The Associate Press reports that the disgruntled demonstrators gathered in central Martyrs Square outside the presidential palace, where hundreds of riot police were deployed. Efforts were not made to stop the rally, which lasted about an hour, even though the government promised on Thursday that they would prevent the promised protests.

Shouts calling for Gibbons' execution, could be heard from the crowd: "No tolerance: Execution," and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad."

One Muslim cleric from the Martyrs Mosque denounced Gibbons during his sermon, saying she intentionally insulted Islam. He did not call for protests, however.

"Imprisoning this lady does not satisfy the thirst of Muslims in Sudan. But we welcome imprisonment and expulsion," the cleric, Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karouri, a well-known hard-liner, told his congregation.

"This an arrogant woman who came to our country, cashing her salary in dollars, teaching our children hatred of our Prophet Muhammad," he said, according to the AP.
The outcry comes one day after Ms. Gibbon’s trial, which ended yesterday with her being “convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear Muhammed." Gibbon’s was sentenced to 15 days in jail and deportation, but did not receive the heavier punishment of 40 lashes and 6 months in prison.

“In response to the demonstration, teacher Gillian Gibbons was moved from the women's prison near Khartoum to a secret location to protect her safety for the nine days remaining in her sentence,” her lawyer told the AP.

Several hundred protesters, not visibly carrying weapons, marched from the square to Unity High School, where Gibbons worked. They chanted slogans outside the school, which is closed until January and under heavy security, then headed toward the nearby British Embassy. They were stopped by security forces two blocks short of the embassy.

Britain, meanwhile, pursued diplomatic moves to free Gibbons. Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke with a member of her family to convey his regret, his spokeswoman said.

The majority of Britons expressed shock at the verdict by a court in Khartoum, alongside hope it would not raise tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims in Britain, the AP reported. Several Muslim groups in the U.K. and elsewhere have spoken out against the punishment of Gibbons.

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