Muslims and the Name Mohammed

Why is it blasphemy to call a teddy bear Mohammed but ok to give that name to a Muslim child? What are the naming rules in Islam?

Slate explains:

In some Muslim countries, almost all males take a religious name, either Mohammed or one of the prophet’s other names, Ahmed, Mahmoud, or Mustafa. But if you’re in the Middle East, you won’t ever hear anyone calling out, “Hey, Mohammed” to a friend on the street. The prophet’s name is too important for casual use, so men and boys named Mohammed go by another first name instead.

There’s even a bonus explanation:

How come English-speakers don’t name their children Jesus?



[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    How come English-speakers don’t name their children Jesus?

    Well, they name them Joshua. That’s the same thing.

  • http://purduenontheists.com Jennifurret

    I went to high school with a kid named Mohammed Mohammed…and I wasn’t stuttering. How are you supposed to address someone who’s first and last names are both Mohammed?

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Spanish speaking people have no problem with naming their kids Jesus.

    Joshua aside, it is interesting that English speaking people don’t want to name their kids “Jesus”… or have their kids look like Jesus… I would even argue they don’t want their kids to act like Jesus… And that’s the Christians.

    Of course who really knows what Jesus looked like. All we have is the medieval Italian painter’s imagination where Jesus looks like an Italian…

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    or have their kids look like Jesus

    Are you talking about dress and hairstyles here (like robes and beards?) or are you talking about anti-Semitism?

    Either way you’re probably right.

  • Mriana

    You know, this is one of the most insipid childish and sophomoric things I have ever heard of. Once again, the adults are acting more like children than children. Just think what sort of stigmatism these children will have in the future. :roll: It’s all rediculous.

  • JVTruman

    How come English-speakers don’t name their children Jesus?

    Speaking of which, if English-speakers don’t, why do Spanish-speakers name their children Jesus?

  • http://australianatheist.blogspot.com Australian Atheist

    As Christopher Hitchens said, a human named Mohammed is more likely to to damage the name of the prophet than a teddy bear. Mohammed Atta for example.

  • Tao Jones

    Just because we don’t take religion seriously doesn’t mean they don’t take their religion seriously.

    Naming a teddy bear Mohammed is kind of trivializing their beliefs. Is it silly? Of course it is. Is it any more silly than having a belief in god in the first place? Definitely not.

    But here’s the thing — this teacher lived and worked in Sudan! She definitely should have known better. If she’s that ignorant of the customs of the country she lives and works in, what business does she have teaching anybody anything?

    Like John Stewart said on The Daily Show after the US was criticized for the soccer balls they gave out with the Saudi Arabian flag on it (which includes the word, “Allah”), “Everyone knows Muslims take the name of their god and prophet seriously.”

    I’m sure she didn’t mean to insult anyone, but ignorance does not equal innocence.

    Regarding naming conventions in English speaking countries, you don’t see too many Judases walking around, do you?

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    “Just because we don’t take religion seriously doesn’t mean they don’t take their religion seriously.”

    I agree.

    That is the problem with the Islamic world. They DO take their religion seriously. Many of them actually believe and follow their scripture. Fortunately, Christians don’t follow their scripture. Otherwise, Christians would be killing their disobedient children and gauging their own eyes out and cutting off their hands. Thank goodness they don’t believe that strongly. There would be a very high cost to society not to mention needless suffering and lost opportunity.

  • stogoe

    She definitely should have known better.

    Stuff it, jerkwad. The teacher didn’t choose the name, the children did.

    And regardless of whether it’s degrading or not to muslims, no one deserves lashings or to be beheaded over this. Yet that’s exactly what they want to do to her.

    Just another bunch of angry men, desperate to act out their violent power fantasies on any opportune woman.

  • David

    “you won’t ever hear anyone calling out, “Hey, Mohammed” to a friend on the street”
    This was an Exaggeration, in fact there are many nicknames for the name muhammad [Abu hmeid, hamada, abu jasem]. and it wouldnt be a problem if you shout [at your friend] in the street and say “Muhammad you f*king A-hole”
    But, what insults Islam more, a teddy bear called muhammad or a person?

  • Scotty B

    How come English-speakers don’t name their children Jesus?

    Funny you mention that, I really wanted to name my son Jesus, but I couldn’t get the wife to go along with it. My two strongets points were: 1) Lots of Mexican (Spanish?) people are named Jesus and 2) Lots of Islamic folks named Mohammed.
    Unfortnunately her argument of “…but you’re an atheist” trumped either of mine.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    I almost had my wife convinced to name our dog Jesus. We went with Mookie instead. But now that I think about it I need to get two pets at the same time and name them Jesus and Mohammed. I can picture dogs growling/cats screeching and saying, “Oh don’t worry about it. It’s just Jesus and Mohammed fighting again.”

  • Karen

    We think the Christians in this country are easily offended when it comes to movies or whatever that threaten them. But boy, we have no idea how it must be to interact with the uber-defensive and thin-skinned fundies of the Muslim world! The positive influence of secularism in the West is hardly ever going to be better illustrated than in this comparison.

    Years ago I worked in the courts. One day a particularly disgusting and horrific indictment came down involving a group of men who kidnapped a woman off the street, took her into the San Gabriel Mountains and proceeded to brutally sexually assault her over 36 hours or so. It was just sickening to read what they did.

    The ringleader’s name: Innocencio Jesus = “Innocent Jesus.”

  • Riz

    i grew up in a muslim country and that explanation is absolutely NOT true – people have no problems whatsoever calling people by Muhammad.

  • Viggo the Carpathian

    I didn’t see Christians rioting and demanding heads when Andres Serrano did the whole Piss Christ thing. What do you think would be the results if he came out with Piss Muhammad?

    Just a thought.

    I think that a religion should be judged by how it treats its fellows, believers and unbelievers alike. Islam gets the lowest possible grade.

  • Kevin Malone

    It’s simple, really. You can name a person “Mohammed” because he was created by God, but you can’t name a teddy bear “Mohammed” because it was created by humans.

  • Tao Jones

    Stuff it, jerkwad. The teacher didn’t choose the name, the children did.

    And regardless of whether it’s degrading or not to muslims, no one deserves lashings or to be beheaded over this. Yet that’s exactly what they want to do to her.

    Just another bunch of angry men, desperate to act out their violent power fantasies on any opportune woman.

    Eh? I thought this was friendlyatheist.com, not flippantfeminist.com.

    For that matter, who is this mysterious “they” of yours? The Sudanese courts tried her and sentenced her to a couple weeks in prison and the Sudanese President pardoned her. Hmm, who else could you be talking about? Lashings? Ooh, ever listen to American talk radio? Some perspective please! Every group has their fair share of bigots and idiots — cultures, countries, religions, and even genders.

    She was the teacher. If she had the slightest bit of common sense — living and working in Sudan, remember — she would have explained to the kids that Mohammed was not an appropriate name for a teddy bear and explained why.

  • Pingback: Sarx » Teddy bears and bleasphemy

  • Tao Jones

    That is the problem with the Islamic world. They DO take their religion seriously. Many of them actually believe and follow their scripture. Fortunately, Christians don’t follow their scripture. Otherwise, Christians would be killing their disobedient children and gauging their own eyes out and cutting off their hands. Thank goodness they don’t believe that strongly. There would be a very high cost to society not to mention needless suffering and lost opportunity.

    And that was one of the big problems Sayyid Qutb had with Western morality, Christians weren’t following the bible. I don’t, and he didn’t, mean things like killing disobedient children, but the materialism, corruption and overt promiscuity. Returning to Egypt he was gonna be damned if the Islamic world ended up like the US.

    What is going on in the world today cannot be simplified by saying, “that is the problem with the Islamic world.” Most of what we hear about over here are the reactions rather than the causes. It is a complicated jumble of cultural histories and philosophies.

    The point I’m making here is that you can’t simply point at them and say, they are screwed up, and expect anything good to come out of it. You’re not going to convince them, and we’re not going to get the understanding required to do something helpful to end this nonsense.

    We atheists are actually in a pretty good spot in this matter because unlike Christians, we don’t have competing belief system. We just can’t allow ourselves to dismiss the significance of what they believe because we think it is silly.

  • monkeymind

    Tao Jones, do you have any empathy at all for the teacher? Or if not for her, for the kids in the who is probably feeling really bad that his teacher got arrested because he suggested calling the bear Mohammed, after one of his friends?

    The fact that the kids in the class thought it was OK to name the bear Mohammed after their friend suggestst that this is kind of a gray area in that culture. Kids tend to have absorbed the strongest taboos in their culture by school age.

    According to one of the articles I read, no parents complained to the school – the whole case was drummed up by the religious police. The school has been closed down because of this incident. Do you have any empathy for the families whose lives have been disrupted in this way? I’m sure the religious police had political reasons for prosecuting this case – maybe they hoped to essentially hold the teacher for ransom, like Libya did with those doctors accused of spreading AIDS.

    Usually I am the one sticking up for cultural sensitivity, but I think it’s possible, in the name of cuttural sensitivity, to enable opression.

  • H. B.

    I have to add a comment to the posting that said the teacher should have known better, since she was in the Sudan. No, she couldn’t have known.

    I have studied Islam and the Sudan since 1994, and even I was shocked that this would offend them. Being, as it were, a name given out of affection for the prophet. I’d have expected them to fully support it.

    What really concerns me is that our social taboo against “badmouthing” any religion is holding us back from admitting to ourselves what this faith really IS.

    As people who pride themselves on critical thinking, I urge you, most strongly, to study Islam on your own. You cannot have a real opinion of it unless you do. Second-hand information is NOT knowledge; it is hearsay. Without first-hand knowledge from your own studies, you do not have an opinion yet – you have an attitude. Whether it is positive or negative, it’s still just an attitude. No attitude can prepare us for what Islam has in mind for us. The consequences we face are too dire to depend on hearsay.

    Islam is having more and more profound effects on us every day, and most of them are intrusive at best, terrifying at worst. We OWE it to ourselves to learn all we can about it. The best place to go for that is to Islam’s own sacred texts. Get the “skinny” directly from “the horse’s mouth.”

    That’s what I did. I began to suspect that Islam might not actually be “the great global religion of peace and tolerance” that I’d been told it was and had always believed. To allay those doubts, I sought the truth about Islam from the Quran and Hadith. Surely that would tell me what I needed to know.

    Rather than allaying my doubts and fears, my hair stood on end.

    So I studied it even more. I looked for all the merit I could find, in the true Freethinking tradition. What I found produced only a little merit, and a whole lot more fear.

    I’m a staunch liberal, but I recommend you view the CNN video of Newt Gingrich, called “I’m Deeply Worried.” I’ve never agreed with this man on anything, and may never do so again. But every word he said was true. I honor his courage in daring to be so outspoken.

    The issue involved is our collective survival. Partisanship has no proper place in it whatever.

    Islam has a prime directive to take over the entire world – and by ANY means they choose. Modern technology has given them the tools to make that goal a reality. For hundreds of years there was no way to move toward that goal; now there is. And they’re using technology’s tools, like mad. Muslims have been trying to take over one nation after another – the push toward global dominance is already beginning. Islam MEANS BUSINESS about world dominance. We had better mean business, too – about preventing that. Yet we remain obsessively in denial.

    Moderation in a Muslim is not a genuine option in Islam. All good attributes, such as peace and tolerance, are owed only to other Muslims. For infidels, there ARE NO RULES.

    Moderates will have to explain to you their theological basis for moderation, because I never found any in the Quran or Hadith. If you are a moderate, you can’t be a true Muslim. If you’re a Muslim, moderation is not allowed. You can’t believe the Quran when it says “an infidel is worse than a murderer” and call yourself a moderate. So anyone who is a moderate is either not a genuine Muslim, or is only faking moderation.

    Moderation in Muslims has enormous propaganda value. And, of course, we remember Glasgow. Where moderate Muslims, medical doctors, respected by all who knew them for decades, suddenly turned into ravening jihadis. How can anyone know a real moderate from a “sleeper jihadist”? Since our safety is very much at issue in this question, it’s rather important. And that makes the true realities of Islam very much our business.

    Many people, particularly in the West, are converted to Islam using “sweetened-up” versions of Quran – to take out as much of the unpalatable stuff as possible. They know they’re converting people to an Islam that doesn’t exist, but to them, a convert is a convert, and no means of getting them is too reprehensible. Such people believe themselves to be genuine Muslims, and also genuinely Moderate. They have been wazooed. We must make allowances for this.

    I doubt the sincerity of most Moderate Muslims. Why aren’t they enraged and extremely vocal about the atrocities going on in the name of their faith – every single day? Or about the genocide in Sudan? Genocide is prohibited by Allah, they say, but where’s the action? Muslims don’t accept filth thrown on their faith and just hold their peace; they act, usually with violence. So why haven’t the Islamic states done a regime change in Sudan? Hollered, screamed and protested over beheadings? Or honor killings? Or teddy-bear blasphemy?

    Mr. Gingrich is right on beam with reality. Listen to him, then go do your homework. Find out FOR YOURSELF. It’s the best way.

    I am genuinely fearful that our own denial will be our own undoing. Keeping us in denial is a vital part of Islamic plans to take over the world, especially in the more powerful nations.

    If we allow it to continue, Islam will win.

  • Tao Jones

    According to one of the articles I read, no parents complained to the school – the whole case was drummed up by the religious police. The school has been closed down because of this incident. Do you have any empathy for the families whose lives have been disrupted in this way? I’m sure the religious police had political reasons for prosecuting this case – maybe they hoped to essentially hold the teacher for ransom, like Libya did with those doctors accused of spreading AIDS.

    Usually I am the one sticking up for cultural sensitivity, but I think it’s possible, in the name of cuttural sensitivity, to enable opression.

    It was a worker at the school who filed the complaint, it wasn’t some conspiracy involving tin foil, bubblegum and a paper clip.

    Whether or not I have any empathy for the teacher, the kids or the families involved is completely besides the point. So is whether or not you have any empathy for the people this offended.

    Compare this to how upset we get over creationism being taught in science class. But wait, you say, creationism isn’t science! You’d be right of course, and this teacher’s exercise was supposed to be about cultural sensitivity, and naming a teddy bear “Muhammad” certainly isn’t culturally sensitive!

    Have a little perspective when you say there were political reasons for prosecuting this case. I fail to see any parallels at all with the Libya case so I have no idea how you think that applies.

    She was sentenced on Nov 29th to 15 days in prison followed by deportation. The maximum sentence (rightly or wrongly) for her crime was, I believe, many years in prison, a fine, or 40 lashes. In that respect, it sounds like the courts went easy on her. She was reportedly given a bed and other special privileges while in prison and was eventually released early on a presidential order on Dec 3rd. Under the circumstances, it seems like she was treated quite fairly.

    While I certainly don’t like that “Insulting Islam” is a crime in many Muslim countries, disrespecting their laws and beliefs is certainly not the way to bring about understanding and positive change in the region.

    I guess those kids got their lesson in cultural sensitivity after all. Unfortunately, it was a much harder lesson than their inept and ignorant teacher had planned.

  • Claire

    It was a worker at the school who filed the complaint, it wasn’t some conspiracy involving tin foil, bubblegum and a paper clip.

    Of course not, no way, couldn’t possibly happen. Uh huh.

    This is from the NY Times:

    On Tuesday, Sir John Sawers, the British representative to the United Nations, criticized the Sudanese government on a number of issues, including the languishing international arrest warrants for a Sudanese official and a militia leader in Darfur.

    The next day, the Sudanese government decided to press charges against Ms. Gibbons.

    So, clearly it was prosecuted solely on the merits and importance of the case. Uh huh.

    Then there’s this quote from a worker in Khartoum:

    “Our government creates such problems to divert the eyes of the world community from our domestic problems,” Ms. Hussein said. “I am sure that the case of the British teacher is politically motivated and has got nothing to do with our prophet.”

    She’s probably wrong, I doubt she knows anything about her own goverment. Uh huh.

  • ash

    Tao -

    For that matter, who is this mysterious “they” of yours? The Sudanese courts tried her and sentenced her to a couple weeks in prison and the Sudanese President pardoned her. Hmm, who else could you be talking about? Lashings?

    The marchers took to the streets after Friday prayers to denounce the sentence as too lenient. The protesters gathered in Martyrs Square, outside the presidential palace in the capital, many of them carrying knives and sticks [...] According to some agencies, some of the protesters chanted: “Shame, shame on the UK”, “No tolerance – execution” and “Kill her, kill her by firing squad”.

    this teacher’s exercise was supposed to be about cultural sensitivity, and naming a teddy bear “Muhammad” certainly isn’t culturally sensitive!

    depends who you ask, certainly some were offended, but others did not see the problem. given this indecision amongst locals about cultural sensitivities, it does become suspect whether this had anything to do with culture, or if it’s just another case of a political agenda hiding behind a religious facade.


    I am a Muslim but I am not offended by what she did.

    I’m a Sudanese and a Muslim myself but I find no reason why this innocent lady is being humiliated and lied against saying that she insulted Islam. My own brother studies in the same school in which the teacher was teaching and it was not her to choose the name, it was a boy whose name was Mohamed. He decide that the doll be named after him. If the name of Mohamed should not be called anyhow then stop people from calling their names Mohamed. We need the teacher back. Rotto, Khartoum, Sudan

    To feel offended by what the teacher did is impossible. She should not be punished for something like that. I believe that the teacher is in her right mind and is aware that she is in an Islamic country. I am sure she knows what can create religious tension and she wouldn’t have done such a thing on purpose. The poor lady is being accused of a sin she did not commit. I hope and pray that the UK government will take this seriously and intervene with vigour before things get out of hand. Why aren’t Muslim brothers taking more kindly to such things? Sanity my people!
    Salma Aki, Khartoum Sudan

    of the eight sudanese commentators here, no-one appears personally offended, only 2 feel even lenient punishment is merited for her…and 2 wish to see the children, not the teacher, held responsible.

  • Tom in Iowa

    At my son’s recent soccer game one of the players on the other team called for the ball “Hey Mohamed, over here.” Not five minutes later another team member yelled “Jesus (Spanish pronunciation) I’m open.”

    The parent sitting next to me (a professor of theology, by the way) turns to me to confirm that I had heard those names as well, and says “If they have a Moses on this team then I think they’re on to something.”

    Sadly no Moses, but if Jesus and Mohamed can play a friendly game of soccer…well, I’m just saying…

  • hjbaby

    Just for clarification it was not that the bear was nammed Mohamed. She got arrested for making a book with a picture of the bear and the title ‘Hi, my name is Mohamed’ and the a conservativist teacher at the school got annoyed. Couple that with angry preachers and everything goes crazy.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/11/28/wsudan428.xml

  • monkeymind

    Tao, the bear was not a cultural sensitivity exercise but a literacy exercise:

    This is a letter from one of the other teachers in the UK Guardian:

    n late August, or early September of this year, Gillian came into possession of a teddy bear (a gift from a parent). An Early Years activity (designed to encourage, in particular, achievement in literacy skills) plays out around a class teddy. He does the rounds of the children, going home with them, just in case the child concerned writes a diary entry for the teddy about his visit to the child’s home. This was Gillian’s intention and it is in line with our whole school plan to raise literacy skills …
    In line with this, the first task was to give the teddy a name. Gillian wanted to call the bear “Faris” (in honour of my new son); now we all wish she had gone with this first idea – but, excellent teacher that she is, she chose instead to ask the children what they wanted to call the teddy.

    The children voted and chose the name Muhammad. All but one of the children in her class are Muslims.

    Gillian then wrote a letter to the parents of Class 2X explaining that the children had chosen the name Muhammad for their class teddy bear. Not one parent raised any objection. Since late September, the teddy has been visiting many of the children of Class 2X’s homes. Three of the parents are teachers in the school.

    We became aware of this issue a few weeks ago. We suggested to Gillian that it was inappropriate that the teddy bear was called Muhammad, as this might offend cultural sensibilities. The school issued a letter to parents to say that the teddy bear was tired of visiting so many homes and his friend (another stuffed toy called something entirely inoffensive) would be visiting instead. The Islamiyat department in our school was consulted and they suggested that this should resolve any potential problems.

    However, on Sunday, the school was visited by officers of the Ministry of Education. Our school director, Robert Boulos, was interviewed at length by these officials. The government officers declared themselves unsatisfied with his responses.

    The government men then asked to see and interview Gillian. Gillian gave exactly the same report of her actions. Again, the men from the ministry found this unacceptable and demanded that Gillian present herself at the police barracks.

    On arrival at the police barracks, accompanied by the school principal, Gillian was interrogated for five hours. Gillian was then remanded to the cells.

    Early yesterday morning I was informed that Gillian had been charged under the Sudanese penal code with blasphemously defaming the Prophet – an offence that is incredible serious here.

    Having consulted with a number of religious Muslim people hereabouts, all are of the opinion that Gillian’s offence (if it may be described as such) was to inadvertently offend religious sensibilities by allowing the children to name the teddy bear with the same name as the Prophet. As this was not done maliciously, or with deliberate intent, they are puzzled about why Gillian has been detained.

    All our parents, both Muslim and Coptic Christian, have stepped forward to offer their support; and the parents of Gillian’s class have gone on record to assert that they never had any objection to the name of the teddy bear. I reiterate, the vast majority of these parents are themselves Muslims.

    The school is now closed for at least the next week. This was the suggestion of the Ministry of Education. We have been provisioned with extra security around the school; school names have been removed from our transports. The risk of attack against school property and staff has become a concern.

    Now, perhaps Gillian was foolish not to have taken advice when the teddy bear was named. However, her intention was clearly not to insult the religious sensibilities of anyone – and she certainly did not upset anyone in the school, or any of the parents.

    We are all deeply concerned for Gillian, who is not half as tough as she likes to make out. She is alone, effectively being held in solitary confinement. She does not speak Arabic and the police staff where she was held until Tuesday morning did not speak much English. The police station had been surrounded by a mob baying for Gillian’s blood.

    She now faces the strong possibility of being charged for an offence that no one, Sudanese or otherwise who knows her, believes is reasonable. At the very least, Gillian will be expelled from the country, losing her job and income.

    My wife was, before the birth of our son, Gillian’s learning assistant. My wife is Sudanese and had worked in the school before Gillian’s arrival.

    She and Gillian became good friends. My wife’s esteem for Gillian as both a person and a teacher was due, at least in part, to the respect in which Gillian held her. My wife presently oscillates between anger and a distraught sense of not being able to help Gillian when she most needs our help.

    Gillian was a kind, considerate and wonderful friend to my wife and I during the latter stages of my wife’s pregnancy; something we shall not forget.

    Gillian’s goodness, excellence as a teacher and respect for all those who worked in the school shone out. The very last thing that Gillian would do is to deliberately offend others. Gillian’s respect and interest in Sudan, Arabic culture and the Muslim way of life and belief was manifest at all times.

    It was a joy to have Gillian amongst us. We want her back. Now.

    There was no intent to insult Islam, the fact that the bear visited so many homes under the name Mohammed, suggests that the “insult” was not a clear-cut issue. When a possible problem was pointed out, the teacher replaced the bear with another toy. All the information points to someone who was doing her best to respect Sudanese culture. Given the current situation with Darfur, to think that the resultant brouhaha had nothing to do with politics is naive.

  • Rovakur

    “The Sudanese courts tried her and sentenced her to a couple weeks in prison and the Sudanese President pardoned her.”

    When the story broke I recall reading accounts that some were seeking the death penalty for her (which is supported by the protestors link in Ash’s post). The British government worked its butt off to achieve the subsequent positive outcome (which along the way entailed the special privileges and lenient sentence you later mentioned).

    What do you think would be the results if he came out with Piss Muhammad?

    I don’t know, but I wonder what an Islamic version of Dogma would yield… On that note, I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing this (anywhere, that is):

    http://prickwear.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=8&idproduct=9613

    Fortunately, Christians don’t follow their scripture. Otherwise, Christians would be killing their disobedient children and gauging their own eyes out and cutting off their hands. Thank goodness they don’t believe that strongly. There would be a very high cost to society not to mention needless suffering and lost opportunity.

    Well, we all know there are some Christian extremists (e.g. abortion clinic bombers), not to mention a large proportion of US citizens consider themselves fundamentalists. And a number of these people are doing quite a bit of damage to society via miseducation, some even at the college level (e.g. Liberty University).

  • Mriana

    Tom in Iowa said,

    December 5, 2007 at 9:22 am

    At my son’s recent soccer game one of the players on the other team called for the ball “Hey Mohamed, over here.” Not five minutes later another team member yelled “Jesus (Spanish pronunciation) I’m open.”

    The parent sitting next to me (a professor of theology, by the way) turns to me to confirm that I had heard those names as well, and says “If they have a Moses on this team then I think they’re on to something.”

    Sadly no Moses, but if Jesus and Mohamed can play a friendly game of soccer…well, I’m just saying…

    Spanish people are more like to name their sons Jesus (Spanish pronounciation of course), Islamics name their sons Mohammed, and for all I know devote Orthydox Jews might name their son Moses. Funny thing is, Europeans of the Christian tradition, lean towards Mary/Maria or a derivitive there of, Joseph/Yosef/etc, Paul, John/Jon/etc, Thomas/Tomas/etc and also Joshua which is Hebrew for Jesus meaning “saviour” (which they don’t realize it or don’t want to admit. Thus why I say, even Christianity is cultural.

  • Tao Jones

    Ok, I stand corrected on the purpose of the exercise. From what I remember reading (in an early report) it was said to have been a cultural thing, but I digress.

    For all those jumping on me remember, this has nothing to do with what I believe. I said I was sure she didn’t mean to offend anyone… nor do I believe something like this *should* be offensive in 2007… nor do I believe she should have been given any more punishment than she received.

    I also did not say that politics didn’t have anything to do with it. But face it, the teacher broke the law in the country she lived and worked in. However noble her intentions were, she should have been aware of the possible consequences of her actions. What’s that saying about an ounce of prevention? Someone at the school knew this might have been a cause for concern, hence the second teddy bear. So why didn’t the teacher have the foresight to veto the name Muhammed?

    I’ll say it again, her ignorance does not make her innocent. I certainly don’t think she sinned or is a bad person, but she did screw up.

    Forgive me for not replying to all the individual comments above. I hope reading this and my above comments (which some of the later posters seemed to have missed) will make my position clear.

    But to those who said,
    “some people were calling for the death penalty”
    “The marchers took to the streets…(etc)”

    Do you listen to American talk radio? Or read the Philadelphia Trumpet? (which for some reason is on display in laundromats and other businesses here in Ontario) What about late nights on Vision TV? Even John Hagee is pretty terrifying and he picks his words very carefully. If we get that nut up here, I can only imagine who is in primetime down there… Etc, etc, etc… every group has their idiots.

    The fact is, the teacher was released and is back in the UK.

    What most of us here want, including me, is to affect positive change in the Middle East. To add fuel to the fire by allowing this controversy to take on a life of its own is not going to help the matter. “H. B”‘s comments above are not going to help (especially since his credibility was shot in the very first line)… saying it is silly to be offended by something like this is not going to help.

    The teachers response to this (what I have read of it) IS going to help. She said she was sorry, that she has a deep respect of Islam, and she never meant to offend anyone. Good for her.

    Muslims (well, maybe I should say, “the Islamic World”) are terrified of western cultural influences. Can we agree on that at least? I make no judgement as to whether or not that fear is justified. To boldly go and tell them their laws and values are wrong and they should adopt our laws and values is futile. Respecting that they respect different things is the only way they are going to respect the things that we respect. Otherwise we are walking stereotypes of one of the things they fear the most.

    I have similar criticisms for the modern atheist movement.

    If we really want to affect change, we really have to be more strategic in determining our methods.

  • Mriana

    The teachers response to this (what I have read of it) IS going to help. She said she was sorry, that she has a deep respect of Islam, and she never meant to offend anyone. Good for her.

    Tao, I said it else where and I’ll say it here too:

    I wouldn’t have respect for such childish behaviour and IF anyone was offended and/or distressed about it, it’s on them, not her. She did not do anything wrong and she has no need to respect people who behave in such a way. It’s just plain stupid and there was no reason for it. To make such a statement, IMO, is just plain ignorant. I also think they are not teaching their children to be very mature about such things. There are many men named Muhammed, just as there are many men named Jesus. :roll:

    There is no compassion and it doesn’t have any place in modern society anymore than Christianity does. It is subject to a lot of criticism, just as any other religion is and they have brought it on themselves. Of course, I have no respect for religion, esp when it acts in such a childish manner and to place her in “time out” for even the amount of time they did was just plain sophomoric, as I said before. To increase the time she was imprisoned would have made the Islamics look even more rediculous than they do already.

    The people I feel most sorry for in this case are the children. They aren’t learning to be accepting of others or anything and not only that, they are learning fear and guilt, thus reinforcing ignorance and superstition. The adults really do need to back off, because it’s not going to help their children believe, but rather learn how to give religion lipservice so that they don’t get into trouble. :roll: The only freedom they will feel is in their own personal thoughts- if they don’t feel guilty about them. Beyond that, they will fear saying or doing anything- if they don’t end up totally brainwashed and go insane themselves first. It’s a rather sad exisistance, if you ask me.

    Religion of peace! Please! I don’t care what anyone says, I cannot and will not buy that. I don’t see it anymore peaceful than Christianity, esp that which is in the Religious Reich’s hands. I will wish them a happy Eid, just as I would anyone who celebrates Christmas, but that is as far as it goes.

  • http://heathendad.blogspot.com/ HappyNat

    Tao,

    I disagree. I can not make myself respect grown adults who riot over cartoons in a newspaper or the name of a teddy bear. IT. IS. ABSURD. How is it NOT silly to get offended over this? I respect their rights to believe in whatever god they want, but when they act with the reasoning of a 2 year old who don’t get a second helping of pudding . . . I can’t respect that.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X