On lashings and action figures

I was just thinking this morning that it's a strange world where, in one part of it, a woman can be sentenced to a public lashing* for allowing her students to name a Teddy bear after a child in their class (who just happens to be named Muhammed), while elsewhere it's OK to sell Jesus action figures.

Furthermore, while the whole incident has been resolved as a "misunderstanding," I wonder what the misunderstanding was about.  The defense is, after all, appealing.  Was the outrage because of the name alone? Was it because it was a bear (which is not seen as a  "cuddly symbol of mercy" in Islamic cultures)?  (Do they even have bears in the Sudan?) And what of the lashing? We seem to be taking this kind of punishment with a shrug of the shoulders.  What if Gillian Gibbons had actually personally named the bear after the prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him)? And what if it had been a pig instead?  Surely there would have been a beheading, no?  What if it had been a stuffed Lion, would she have been given a medal instead?

...and, by the way, where are all the animal rights activists in all of this?  Isn't there a shred of compassion for the bear himself?  Doesn't anyone care about whether the bear is Muslim or not?  Does this all boil down to a case of stuffed-toy profiling? Am I the only one who sees the issues of religious freedom involved?  Clearly our priorities are way out of whack.

* I take it back.  From the same timesonline link above, it seems that it wouldn't have been a public lashing after all.  I quote:  "Had Miss Gibbons been sentenced to a flogging, the sentence would have been carried out by a woman, not a man, and in a private room rather than in public. And, like the murderer pinned against the wall, it would have been carried out promptly."

Well, that's a relief.  I guess it's not as bad as I thought.

Man, there's gotta be song in there somewhere.

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