I hate petitions, but in this case, I'm making a huge exception. (From the Washington Post)
Qatar jails a Nepali teacher on charges of insulting Islam
Posted by Anup Kaphle on May 9, 2013 at 3:07 pm
A Nepali teacher who taught chemistry at Qatar Academy has been jailed in Doha on felony charges for insulting Islam.
Dorje Gurung, who has taught chemistry to middle and high school students in the United States, Britain and Australia, appeared in a Doha court on Thursday. If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison, according to Doha News.
Gurung was fired from Qatar Academy after arguments with students on April 22 and 23. Although he was set to leave the country, he was summoned by the police and has been jailed since last Wednesday, according to The Himalayan Times.
Gurung has been accused of comparing all Muslims to terrorists. But two of his friends shared Gurung’s version with Doha News:
On Monday, April 22, Gurung said he had a sit-down chat with three 12-year-old boys who were making fun of him. Among other things, the seventh graders poked fun at his appearance, calling him “Jackie Chan,” a famous Chinese actor.
On Tuesday, April 23, the mocking again began in earnest while Gurung was in line for lunch. At first, he said the teasing was light-hearted, but then one student put his hand on Gurung’s shoulder and a finger in his nose. At this point, Gurung grew agitated and said remarks to the effect of, how would you like to be stereotyped i.e. called a terrorist?
Gurung has no legal representation, but the Nepali embassy is seeking permission from the Kathmandu government to meet with Gurung, Doha News reports. Without a lawyer, Gurung’s friends fear he would not get a fair trial. The court would rely on the complaints from Qatar Academy’s students, they said.
Dorje Gurung was one of those activist and idealist students. He lived across the hall from me (and down a few doors). He was a student advisor for our dorm. He was the first person I ever met who didn't actually know when his birthday was, who came from a place I'd barely heard of, and who looked very different from me, but who welcomed me into his living space, his life, and always treated me (and everyone else) with great warmth, gentlenes, and kindness.
I'm thankful that the Washington Post saw fit to publish this, even though Dorje is not an American citizen, not a Christian, and not someone that most of us in this country would take the time to stand up for.
So while I'm not a fan of petitions these days, I'm posting this one for you all. Please consider signing it.
Please pray for Dorje.