Religious Savagery Is Too Much to Bear

Article excerpt


SCOUR the newspapers and you might just spot the story about a 19-year-old Saudi woman who is to receive 200 lashes for being in the same car as a man who wasn't her husband or a relative.

Her punishment is an act of such barbarity it triggers utter repulsion and fury.

Sadly, the best we can do is recoil in horror at a religion prepared to condone the degradation of females, and be grateful we were spared having to live in this dark corner of the world. But what about when one of our own faces a flogging?

This week, British teacher Gillian Gibbons was hauled from her classroom in Sudan, arrested and thrown into prison, where she remains under threat of a jail sentence or 40 lashes.

Her crime? Transgressing Faith and Religious laws by allowing pupils at Unity High School in Khartoum to call their teddy bear Mohammed - an act which, according to Sharia law, insults Islam's holiest prophet.

Gillian Gibbons can't have been aware of this. If she was, it wouldn't have happened. We Brits may be lacking on the football pitch but when it comes to tolerance we're world class.

You'd be hard pushed to find a nation more willing to bend over backwards to accommodate minority beliefs and sensitivities.

Hence, the abandonment of nativity plays in some schools and legal wrangles over a teacher's right to wear a jilbab.

If Britain were to employ Sudanese tactics and impose its values on minorities living here, you wouldn't see Parliament Square for the massed ranks of burkhas screaming for retribution.

Cast your mind back two years to the theatre of hate following publication of cartoons of the prophet - not here, but in Denmark. …