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Prosecution of British Schoolteacher is Another Example of how Khartoum Violates the Comprehensive Peace Agreement

"This is just another example of how Khartoum is violating the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) it signed with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in 2005."
-Faith McDonnell, Director, Church Alliance for a New Sudan

Contact: Loralei Coyle, 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, lcoyle@ird-renew.org; Jeff Walton, jwalton@ird-renew.org; both with www.ird-renew.org

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 /Christian Newswire/ -- Extremist Muslims are calling for the execution of British school teacher Gillian Gibbons in the Sudan. Rallies began after thousands left their mosques on Friday morning. Mrs. Gibbons was sentenced to fifteen days in prison after being found guilty of "insulting religion" when she allowed the six and seven-year-old children in her class to choose the name for a teddy bear this past September. Gibbons prison sentence will be followed by deportation to Britain. The children had voted on names, and 20 out of 23 voted to name the bear "Mohammed" after one of the most popular boys in the class. Mrs. Gibbons went by the results of the vote.

IRD Director of Church Alliance for a New Sudan Faith McDonnell commented:

"IRD's Church Alliance for a New Sudan denounces the extremism that is being promoted by radical clerics and the obscene guilty verdict of Gillian Gibbons in Khartoum.

"It's no coincidence that riots by radical Islamists frequently occur on Fridays after worship at the mosques. The teachings in many of the mosques by extremist clerics fan the flames of irrational hatred.

"This is just another example of how the government in Khartoum is violating the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) it signed with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in January 2005.

"According to section 2.4.5.1 of the CPA, 'Tolerance shall be the basis of coexistence between the Sudanese people of different cultures, religions, and traditions.' It goes on to say that the judicial system should observe the legal principle that non-Muslims are not subject to sharia law, and that a special commission should be appointed by the presidency to ensure that the rights of non-Muslims are protected, and not adversely affected by the application of sharia law in the capital.

"Further, in section 6.5.10 of the CPA it declares that 'no one shall be subject to discrimination by the National Government, state, institutions, group of persons or person on grounds of religion or other beliefs.'

"The Sudanese government is definitely violating the spirit of the peace agreement by allowing these absurd charges against Mrs. Gibbons."

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