English school teacher Gillian Gibbons has been pardoned for the offense of allowing her class to name a teddy bear Mohammad. With Islamic mobs baying for her death, she went out of her way to make nice:

“I have great respect for the Islamic religion and would not knowingly offend anyone and I am sorry if I caused any distress,” Gibbons said, in a statement read out by Sayeeda Warsi, one of two Muslim lawmakers who traveled out to Sudan to secure her release.

Was that the price of life? Does Mrs. Gibbons’ respect extend to those who wanted her death?

National Review has a terrific symposium on the teddy bear riots. (“Same old, same old-whether a teddy bear, a cartoon, or a papal sermon, whether in Khartoum or Islamabad,” notes historian Victor Davis Hanson. “They take offense, we understand, or rationalize, or equivocate – either out of condescension or fear of terrorism or worries over oil or multicultural guilt or all that and more.”

Yes, understanding Islamic rioters, and not just by Western feminists, who remained silent throughout Gibbons’s ordeal, is our common response. On the celeb front, Mia Farrow appears to be the only one who has spoken out in behalf of Mrs. Gibbons. Canadian columnist David Warren has some pertinent thoughts on this phenomenon of refusing to be critical of violence against women in Islamic countries.  One involves a feminist writer who got similar treatment:

“I am thinking of the violent mobs that have formed repeatedly in Calcutta, demanding the execution, or in the case of some moderates only the flogging and incarceration, of Taslima Nasreem. She is a witty feminist author from Bangladesh, whose memoir, Dwikhondito (‘Split in Two,’ published in 2003) contained several remarks which fanatics consider to be derogatory to Islam. The government of West Bengal had already banned the book, in deference to the state’s Muslim minority. And now, at the demand of the union government in Delhi, Ms Nasreem has agreed to remove two pages from editions of the book available elsewhere. She has required heavy security and been whisked from one hiding place to another, around India.

“Yet as the eminent Bengali artist, Shuvaprassana, has said: “This is a compromise that she has been forced into for the sake of getting refuge. But if she can drop two pages to get refuge in India, she can drop three pages and go back to Bangladesh.”

“This remark conveys more than first appears. Obviously, no matter what Ms Nasreem does, she cannot return to Bangladesh. The point to be read between Shuvraprassana’s lines is that if we don’t make our stand where we are standing, there is no end to retreat. The defence of freedom demands that we make no concessions — no concessions at all — to a bullying mob. And should people in the mob wish to impale themselves on the pikes of lawful authority, let them.”

For American feminists, it’s so much fun to attack George Bush than to take notice of genuinely disturbing manifestations of violence against women in other countries.