Anne Applebaum on Slate wrote a column subtitled How the West is helping the Sudanese government whip up controversy for its own ends.
Apparently the teddy bear was named way back in September with no complaints until just recently.
Partly, this is because we still don’t understand them. In fact, the Great Sudanese Teddy Bear Controversy, like its Dutch, Danish, and papal precedents, was not actually a religious or cultural affair. It was purely political. Nobody—not the other teachers, the parents, or the children—was offended by Mohammed the teddy bear (who received his name last September) until the matter was taken up by a totalitarian government, handed over to what appears to have been a carefully orchestrated mob, and briefly turned into yet another tool of domestic terror and international defiance. The Sudanese government, which, when not persecuting British teachers, pursues genocidal policies in Darfur, is under pressure to accept peacekeeping troops from the West. At least some of the Sudanese authorities thus have an interest in building anti-Western sentiments among the population and intimidating those who disagree.
Food for thought.