Yes, I know, going with the bear was obvious. But it was really hard to resist, and the whole thing really pissed me off. I'm getting sick of people using their religion as an excuse for their ignorance, hatred and irrationality.
And FTR - Sudan's president pardoned the poor school teacher caught up in this mess. The Guardian has a handy timeline on the controversy. And Sam Dealey at Time.com reports that the pardon could have gone the other way, had the president not feared for whatever is left of Sudan's international reputation:
The reaction by most Sudanese to Gibbons' lenient sentence was mostly benign; still, the government's fears of a larger backlash bordered on paranoia. Riot police were deployed, and Internet access to some stories was denied. Lord Ahmed, one of a pair of British parliamentarians who traveled to Khartoum as private citizens — and as co-religionists with the Sudanese — to secure Gibbons' release, told TIME that Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir admitted to them he was weighing a retrial — on stricter charges.
In the end, however, as British foreign minister David Miliband said, "common sense" prevailed. Gibbons was freed and Khartoum remained calm. But rather than view the Gibbons case as yet another example of a radical regime's autocratic abuse, the West would do well to realize that the events in Khartoum expose the government's weakness, and not its strength.