30 Nov 2007 Where is the Feminist Outrage Over Jailing of British Woman in Sudan?
Washington, D.C. – Deneen Borelli, a fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network, is condemning the jailing and likely deportation of a female British teacher in Sudan because she allowed the children in her class to name a teddy bear “Muhammed.” Borelli is also critical of American feminists for their uncharacteristic silence on this issue.
Gillian Gibbons was arrested and tried in Khartoum, Sudan this week after a secretary at the Unity High School where Gibbons taught reported her to Sudanese authorities. Gibbons was arrested for allowing the seven-year-old students in her class to name a stuffed bear with the same name as the Muslim prophet. The bear was being used as a learning aid to teach the children about animals and their habitats.
Charged with violating Article 125 of the Sudanese constitution, which prohibits insulting religion and inciting hatred, Gibbons faced maximum sentences of 40 lashes, a fine and up to a year in jail. She was sentenced to 15 days in jail and is expected to be deported upon her release.
“It’s shocking that the Sudanese government considers the mere naming of a stuffed animal as a violation of its constitution and a punishable offense,” said Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli. “The overreaction by the Sudanese government should not go unchallenged by the U.S. This is especially true when our tax dollars in foreign aid are effectively used to support these extreme actions.”
When queried by Fox News about their reaction to the Gibbons arrest on November 28, a spokesman for the National Organization for Women (NOW) said the group was monitoring the situation but would not be issuing a statement or taking an official position on the matter. This is contrary to past international activism by the group in countries such as Mexico and Afghanistan, the support of a United Nations treaty on women’s rights and cosponsorship of an International Women’s Day delegation to Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela last year.
Speaking on the condition of women in Sudan in 2004, NOW president Kim Gandy said: “The U.S. government must demonstrate its commitment to the freedom and safety of women by demanding that the U.N. do more to put an end to the atrocities in Darfur [Sudan]. And we must speak out [on] behalf of all the women and girls affected by violence around the globe.”
Tammy Bruce, a former NOW official in Los Angeles, told Fox News: “The supposed feminist establishment is refusing to take a position in this regard [on the Gibbons arrest] because they have no sensibility of what is right anymore. They’re afraid of offending people. They are bound by political correctness.”
“I’m amazed by the silence of the so-called women’s rights groups like NOW,” added Project 21’s Borelli. “This is an example of their selective feminist outrage. When it fits their liberal agenda and bias, they are extremely vocal. When it doesn’t, their silence is deafening.”
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.