HARTOUM, Sudan Sudan charged a British teacher Wednesday with inciting religious hatred after she allowed her students to name a teddy bear Muhammad, an offense that could subject her to 40 lashes, the country's official news agency reported. The teacher, Gillian Gibbons, was arrested after one of her pupils' parents complained, accusing her of naming the bear after Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Sudan's prosecutor general, Salah Addin Abuzeit, said Gibbons was charged under article 125 of the Sudanese legal code, which carries a punishment of up to 40 lashes and six months in prison. "The case will be referred to the court tomorrow," the news Sudanese News Agency quoted Abuzeit as saying. Gibbons' employer, the Unity High School in Khartoum, has said she never intended to insult Islam and has apologized to Muslims who were offended. Officials at the school say she was teaching her 7-year-old students about animals and asked one of them to bring in her teddy bear. Gibbons then asked the students to pick names for the bear and in the end, they voted to name it Muhammad, school officials say. Khartoum officials have downplayed the case, saying it was an isolated incident. Sudanese diplomats in Britain and at the United Nations in New York had said they expected the 54-year-old teacher to be released soon, stating authorities were cautious to guarantee her safety in jail. But Sudan's top clerics said in a statement Wednesday that the full measure of the law should be applied against Gibbons, calling the incident part of a broader Western "plot" against Islam. Northern Sudan's legal system is based on Islam's Sharia law, which harshly punishes blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad. Any depiction of the prophet is forbidden in Islam, for fear it would provoke idolatry. Caricatures of Muhammad in some European media last year sparked riots in several Muslim countries. The Sudanese clerics said this was blasphemy and believed it was intentional. "What has happened was not haphazard or carried out of ignorance, but rather a calculated action and another ring in the circles of plotting against Islam," the Sudanese Assembly of the Ulemas said the statement. "It is part of the campaign of the so-called war against terrorism and the intense media campaign against Islam," they said. The clerics said the "plot" was exemplified "in the writings of renegade Salman Rushdie and the blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad." Rushdie has received multiple death threats from hardline Muslims for publishing a novel questioning Muhammad's morals. Sudan's Assembly of Ulemas is a semiofficial body of top preachers, clerics and scholars of Islam. It is generally viewed as a moderate body that has the ear of the Sudanese government.