Sunday, December 02, 2007

Islam - the most easily offended religion?

"...Then one of my favourite students - a lovely, charming girl with a great sense of humour - said in a low, warning voice: “Teacher, we can’t joke about the Prophet Mohammed.”

This was the experience of Blake Evans-Pritchard in Khartoum. Not of Gillian Gibbons, who is now in a Sudanese jail awaiting deportation. Her students didn't warn her that Islam is easily offended, and now hundreds of Sudanese Muslims demand that she be executed for allowing her students to name a teddy bear Muhammed, the name of one of the kids in her class.

Are other religions as easily offended as Islam? I'm sure that every religion, and every nationality, has its soft spots. I assume that if a teacher in a Catholic school would name a teddy bear "Satan" than the parents of the children would get quite emotional. I know that anything slightly reminiscent of antisemitic terminology immediately raises a very big red flag for almost every Israeli Jew. But still, such mass demonstrations and calls for execution over a mere misunderstanding? I get the feeling that Islam is a very touchy and nervous religion.