She's now been charged with "insulting religion" and "inciting hatred" according to the Daily Telegraph. The Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain has fortunately been backing her saying "This is a disgraceful decision and defies common sense". Of course he's not defending her because the law is absurd and the punishment obscene, but because "There was clearly no intention on the part of the teacher to deliberately insult the Islamic faith". Presumably if she was trying to insult Islam, he'd happily see her be flogged? By contrast the "Sudanese Assembly of the Ulemas" a bunch of stoneage men believe she is part of an international conspiracy against Islam - but then again these are the same men who regard rape victims to be to anything but victims. Vile bastards to a man.
Boris Johnson, Conservative MP for Henley, who is trying to unseat Ken Livingstone as dictator for London, has said "the voices we need to hear now belong to Britain's vast, sensible Muslim majority. If British Muslims speak up decisively and loudly against this lunacy, then they can achieve two good things at once. Their arguments will be heard with respect in Khartoum, since they cannot be said to be founded on any kind of cultural imperialism, or to be actuated by Islamophobia."
Well indeed, although Johnson then slips a bit backwards saying "a strong protest by British Muslims against the imprisonment of Gillian Gibbons would help to contradict the growing ranks of pessimists and neo-cons - the people who say that the real problem is Islam, the religion itself. "
I can understand Boris saying this, and to an extent he's right - Islam as simply practised privately by consenting adults, is not a problem. People must have the right to believe whatever they wish and worship this, as long as they do not seek to initiate force against others. However, Islam as a basis for laws and the state is a problem, it is stone age. It DOES seek to initiate force against others, and more importantly enough Muslims in the West also seek to initiate force against others who insult them.
You see while Boris seeks to paint Islam as not being the problem he bemoans another fact "If you want grounds for despair, read the entries on the BBC website, in which some British Muslims say that she should be punished; or read the entries from people in Sudan saying that the children should be punished. It is tragic and incredible that we can allow people to take offence over such a simple misunderstanding. If this goes any further, it will entrench prejudice and misunderstanding. "
Frankly, such people are barbarians themselves, and this makes the point further. If there will be those who continue to think that people who do not initiate force against others deserve to have violence done to them, then they need to be criticised and outed for the fascists they are - they are no different from the likes of the BNP.
Sadly I think Boris is wrong with his last statement "But if British Muslim leaders are able to seize the opportunity and speak up for common sense, then they have a real chance to show that there is all the difference in the world between Islam and the ludicrous fanaticism that has incarcerated Gillian Gibbons." Sadly I think the difference is not that great. Most predominantly Muslim countries are full of people who wouldn't bat an eyelid at Gillian Gibbons's
UPDATE: She has been sentenced for 14 days, she wasn't even allowed her lawyers for the hearing. Stone age thugs and Damian Lanigan from the Daily Telegraph has a good comment on it all:
"Politicians have been fair game for millennia and now religions and religious people are as open to ridicule as everyone else. This is of course excellent news, and actually a mark of civilization. We all roll around in the mud together - but at the same time, we actually treat each other rather well. Is it ironic that those who profess to have powerful notions of something 'higher' can act so bestially? Or is it kind of inevitable?"
Indeed, every dictator acts in exactly the same way.