Sunday, December 02, 2007

Mohammed The Mole No More

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

Kes Gray's children's book Who's Poorly Too has been in publication for some eight years and has reported sales of over 40,000 copies. Not exactly a runaway bestseller. Now, because of the recent controversy over Muhammad the Bear, Mr. Gray, in an act termed by some as "self-censorship," will postpone the reprint of the children's book until the mole's name can be changed.
Via this posting at Little Green Footballs and according to this article in the Times of India,
LONDON: First there was Mohammed the Mole and Dipak the Dalmatian . Now there is Morgan the Mole and Dipak the Dalmatian . A British children's author who named his fictitious mole Mohammed and the dog Dipak in an attempt to promote multi-culturalism, has backed away from the first for fear of offending Muslims.

Author Kes Gray said he changed the mole's name after reading about the fate of British school teacher Gillian Gibbons who is in prison in Sudan for allowing her class to name a teddy bear Mohammed.

Gray told The Sunday Times , London that he "had no idea at all of the sensitivities of the name Mohammed until seeing this case in Sudan" and he added that the Hindu and Muslim names for his animals characters had merely been a way to "embrace other cultures...I had no idea it would backfire like this. I was in Egypt this year and everyone was called Mohammed. I just thought it was a popular name".
Apparently, teddy bears themselves don't seem to bother Muslims, particularly if the toys are named after a prophet other than Muhammad — or something like that — because the article in the Times of India concludes as follows:
...10,000 teddies, named Adam the Muslim Prayer Bear, were reportedly bought by Muslim families in Britain to raise money for Sudanese refugees. Adam bear's name is that of another prophet of Islam and at £ 15 a piece, he recites Assalam-o-alaikum when his paws are pressed.

The bears, marketed by the Islamic Society of Britain, to raise funds for charity, have not sparked unease or complaints in the three years they have been sold.
So far, these remain available at Cafe Press:

From Mujahideen Ryder, who has no problem with the naming of teddy bears:
Adam is the name of a Prophet (as), just like Muhammad is a name of the last Prophet (s)....I’d just like to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong in naming a teddy bear Muhammad. I do not agree with what the news is reporting about the incident and what they say the Sudanese protesters are saying. I also believe that there is more to the protests, because who in God’s name would care if a teddy bear was named Muhammad or Adam or Moses or Abraham or Jesus. I mean seriously! You got to be kidding me....

Comment 1 MT Akbar said:

This whole debacle pertaining to the teddy bear is just plain silly. This shows a real lack of confidence and a victim mentality with us Muslims. We jumpt at everything and see offence in every corner now.
I was really surprised when I heard about this and feel sad for the poor teacher. Muslims in UK should do something for her when she gets back there if the Sudanese do not straighten this out.

December 2nd, 2007 at 3:52 am |

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/02/2007 07:36:00 PM