University atheist society ordered out of freshers’ fair for displaying ‘blasphemous’ pineapple called Mohammed

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A group of atheist students were thrown out of their freshers’ fair because they included a pineapple labelled ‘Mohammed’ on their stall.


The Reading University Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society (RAHS) said they wanted to celebrate free speech and promote their upcoming debate ‘Should we respect religion?’

But they were ordered to remove the offending fruit by union staff who said their actions were causing ‘upset and distress’ to a number of Muslim students and other societies.

RAHS refused, citing that they had labelled the pineapple after the Islamic prophet to ‘encourage discussion about blasphemy, religion, and liberty’.

A spokesman said: ‘We wanted to celebrate the fact that we live in a country in which free speech is protected and where it is lawful to call a pineapple by whatever name one chooses.’

They claimed the union then issued them with the ultimatum: ‘Either the pineapple goes or you do.’

Written By: Daily Mail
continue to source article at dailymail.co.uk

62 COMMENTS

  1. You know the expression “license to print money”? Events like these show the word Mohammed is a license to show up Muslims. How their religious doctrines can still be taken seriously in the light of that phenomenon is beyond me – and, of course, if we can’t take Islamic doctrines seriously we by definition can’t be Muslims. 

    And the claim Mohammed is a pineapple shouldn’t offend, because (a) it’s obviously not a convincing enough assertion to offend (it’d be like telling me my mother’s so tight she’s saved up $14 billion from being stingy with loo roll) and (b) if a prophet actually were a talking pineapple, that would be miraculous and give better evidence of a deity than their being a human could. Maybe if religions were more imaginative they would have chosen non-human prophets that could have inspired Muppet characters. 

    But what the media and/or the organisations whose verdicts they claim to summarise forget is Muslims don’t actually claim their problem with this sort of thing is that it’s “offensive”; their problem with it is that Islam forbids this action, so they want everyone else to also not do it. Which is odd, because they don’t blow up bacon factories.

  2. They were initially asked to remove the
    display and after refusal were asked to leave. Our Freshers’ Fayre is an
    inclusive event for all students (unless they offend Muslims).

    There, fixed it.

  3. It does raise the question: did they have a polytheistic cornucopia? And a cucumber and potato called “Dawkins” and “Hitchens” for good measure? To properly offend Christians, though, they’d probably need to put a crucifix in apple juice.

  4. So I presume the union staff will throw every boy or man named Mohammed off the University premises, should they have the temerity to enter. It’s not an uncommon name.
    I rather think dishonesty and presuming one has the right to not be offended are much worse crimes. It’s interesting the union staff don’t see how, by their own behaviour, they have become examples of what they would claim to condemn – paragons of intolerance. The epitome of a bunch of fascists.

  5. Student unions are full inexperienced students, aspiring career politicians, and posers looking for popularity. 
    Some of their older officials can have come up through the weird politics route, with fantastic concepts of  “political correctness”.

    I came across one example of a SU official who was using his union position in the to attack students who complained about rogue landlords (where these rouges  were union approved as student accommodation providers), and threatening the students on official union note paper)  to force them to accept dysfunctional accommodation (such as non-functioning toilets and showers). 
    Definitely “brain in backwards individual” but the noddy sabbatical elected student officers couldn’t get round to making a start on disciplining him during their year of office, so the abuses continued, while the next dysfunctional sabbatical group was elected!

    Since UK student deposits are now held by independent parties there is some measure of protection against rogue landlords improperly keeping deposits as well as providing sub-standard accommodation.

  6. In my first novel, I proposed the theme that all religious doctrines/myths were ‘real’ the way nations are real, that is, because a significant number of people agreed that they are real, when, in fact, national borders are artificial. This being the case, Muslims are correct in being afraid of ridicule. If people stop believing, the edifice they have created and sustained in their collective minds crumbles away and ceases to exist, the way several eastern European nations — and countless ancient religions — have ceased to exist.
    So every apostate is a stone taken away from the building, and every joke (or scientific argument) is a force chiseling that stone out.

    Okay, I think I’ve worked metaphor to death, but you get my drift. And my message. Keep chiseling.

  7. Idleracer.  The daily fail missed a part (according to their official).  First an SU staff member took the pinapple.  20 minutes later there was a pinnaple with Jesus written on it.  This is the one they were thrown out for, in a “you’re just not going to stop” sort of way.

  8. I am absolutely staggered. An article worth reading on the Daily Mail website.

    The  Reading Students Union should be ashamed, maybe the atheists should have got the religious thrown out for their doctrines condemning them to eternity in hell, maybe marginally more “upsetting” than an ironically named fruit.

    To be really classy they needed a Pomegranite named Bertrand Russell, or better a teapot.

  9. ‘As the society’s actions were causing upset and distress to a number of individual students and other societies attending we took the decision to ask them to leave.’”Distress”!?! Over the naming of a pineapple?Fuck off!!!

  10. A pineapple name Mo caused a problem, but the archaic rules/laws of the religion protesting (and probably of those that weren’t) didn’t.  Since when is a pineapple named Mo worse than people promoting a belief system full of sexual inequality and anti-intellectualism? 

  11. Dear ‘Aztek’. Dont know about that?! . . .. BREAKING OHAHU NEWS . . .”Strident atheist Rich Dawkins insulted by local Maui beach waiter” . . . .
    Prof. Dawkins : “Waiter, may I have one of your Tropical martinis, please, with coconut rum?”
    MO the waiter : “Sorry sir – that is quite impossible. Its not in my job remit?”
    Prof. Dawkins : “What, WHAT?” “Well ok then, I’ll have a large pineapple juice – shaken not stirred!”
    MO the waiter : “Pineapple,PINEAPPLE?, and SHAKEN??”. . .”F * * K  Y * *  TOO” . . . . (ALOHA ;)

  12. I think the organizers made the right call, here.

    I think if you’re gonna allow faith-based groups as part of the student union, it only makes sense to allow blasphemy as well.
    HOWEVER, at an event aimed at giving freshmen a chance to explore what groups they can join, you want to provide a welcoming atmosphere, and so it only makes sense to remove obviously offensive displays (and I’d say this certainly qualifies, since 1) the reason it can spark debate is because some will see it as offensive and 2) they had apparently received complaints about it).

    These students will be around for several years; can’t we just wait until the welcoming activities are over – that is, until they’ve gotten at least some chance to settle into their new environment – before we start mocking their ridiculous beliefs?

  13.  “and so it only makes sense to remove obviously offensive displays (and
    I’d say this certainly qualifies, since 1) the reason it can spark
    debate is because some will see it as offensive and 2) they had
    apparently received complaints about it).”

    Given that I find religion generally offensive, if I were to complain about the Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, FSMist, Jedi, Scientologist groups et al that would fulfill both your criteria and they’d all be told to clear off.  If I went with my corpulent friend and airhead girlfriend and they each complained about the sports groups and intellectual groups respectively on the grounds they were offensive to their sensibilities that would also fulfil your criteria and the whole place would be deserted.

    Oh, yes, very welcoming…

  14. Yeah, the idea of having faith-based (or party-affiliated) groups as parts of student unions has always been a bit of a conundrum to me.
    …and if you are offended by religious elements in some group that you’re a member of, or if you decide not to join a group motivated at least in part by those religious elements, I very much encourage you to let those in charge know about it.

    That being said, I do think that this pineapple display stands out because offense actually lies at the heart of it: Its very raison d’être is that people will be offended by it. I don’t think the same can be said for the groups themselves.

    As for people being offended by sports and intellectual pursuits: If they actually exist in any considerable quantity, they might pose some concern. However, until there’s reason to think of them as anything more than hypothetical, I won’t blame the student union for prioritizing people who are obviously real, much the same way that I make preparations for expected rainfall but seldom pay the possibility of getting hit by a meteorite much mind.

  15. “These students will be around for several years; can’t we just wait until the welcoming activities are over – that is, until they’ve gotten at least some chance to settle into their new environment – before we start mocking their ridiculous beliefs?”

    No.

    Muslims are allowed to  promote their literature and dogma any time they like. I’m sure we could all think of at least a dozen practices of the Islamic faith that are genuinely a lot more mocking of others (to put it mildly) than the naming of a piece of fruit. Why should everyone else have to tread on egg shells around Muslims? The offence they take at the naming of a piece of fruit is entirely self-generated and in itself worthy of mockery.

    And asking either Muslims or secularists to advertise a watered-down version of whatever it is they may stand for would be a mis-representation. If a secularist group believes that no ideology should be exempt from mockery or criticism, they should be able to advertise that fact; just as Muslims should be able to advertise the fact that they believe women are inferior to men.

  16. They can still advertise the fact that they think that no ideology is exempt from mockery, and they can spend 99% of their time practicing such mockery. However, the idea of practicing mockery as part of a welcoming activity just seems counter-active to the whole event.

  17. I think loghaD is missing the point here. AFAIC, the point is That over several years muslims have been perfecting the art of being “offended”. In what way can a piece of fruit named Mohammed, possibly “offend” someone? The only possible “offence” can only be in the eyes of those looking to be “offended”

    Mohammed was only a prophet remember, – not even Allah!

    Wel, I for one, am fed up with this pretence of being “offended”, whilst they are actually trying to bully someone else.

    And why shouldn’t new students be aware that there is a club that mocks all religions? Bollocks to muslim, Christian, Jewish and all other religious sensitivities!

  18. I suppose it’s alright for a cardinal to call me something “less than human”, or the Pope to accuse me of being almost a Nazi? But calling a pineapple Mohammed, now that’s “offensive”?

  19. While I sympathize with your contempt for artificial outrage, I think you’re somewhat off the mark. There are certainly those who drive up and capitalize on outrage, but in my experience there are far many more who aren’t like that at all but who are nevertheless insulted by attacks on their prophet.

    I don’t think we should bend over backwards as a society to appease them, but I think there’s a world of difference between what we allow as a society and what a student union allows within the framework of their welcome activities. I’m sure they wouldn’t have allowed the Christian group to put up signs condemning gays or the Muslim group to go around shouting “Death to infidels”, either.

  20. Ornicar
    God hates pineapples. Well known fact.

    Why else would whole fields of them be beheaded, their heads sliced, boiled, put into tins and then be banished from the paradise like islands.

      http://alohaisles.com/molokai/… - 
    In 1922, James Dole bought the entire island of Lanai, known as the Pineapple Island, and converted it from an island with 150 people into the largest pineapple plantation in the world with 20,000 pineapple plantation acres and over a thousand pineapple workers and their families. Pineapple production on Lanai ended in October 1992.

    You see – all part of the grand plan!

  21. loghaD:

    While I sympathize with your contempt for artificial outrage, I think you’re somewhat off the mark. There are certainly those who drive up and capitalize on outrage, but in my experience there are far many more who aren’t like that at all but who are nevertheless insulted by attacks on their prophet.

    In what way is naming a pineapple Mohammed an attack on “their prophet”? And if Christians want to put up anti gay placcards, why shouldn’t they? And why shouldn’t Muslims call for the death of infidels? Oh I forgot that’s against the law! But giving a piece of fruit a name is suddenly an attack? Sorry, I don’t buy it.  If Christians, Muslims or Jews or anyone else want to make  fools of themselves by making ridiculous statements or claims, then that is fair game for those opposing their views. The more opposing views are “banned” the more subtle becomes the satire, and the whole under-culture of defiance.  Why don’t these Islamic tinderboxes just relax a bit? Oh, sorry, of course if you admit one gleam of light  the whole ridiculous edifice comes down! Then the Islamic theologians will have to become “sophisticated” and explain away the nasty bits of the Koran. At the moment the Koran is “perfect”!

  22.  “And if Christians want to put up anti gay placcards, why shouldn’t they?
    And why shouldn’t Muslims call for the death of infidels?”

    Because it’s a welcoming activity for freshmen.

  23. In what way is naming a pineapple Mohammed an attack on “their prophet”?

    …But giving a piece of fruit a name is suddenly an attack?

    This was an atheist group whose intention was to provoke some sort of reaction from Muslim students, by ridiculing their Prophet. It wasn’t like the schoolteacher in Sudan who called a stuffed toy Mohammed after the name was chosen by the students in her class because it happens to be a popular one for boys in that part of the world.

  24.  “And if Christians want to put up anti gay placcards, why shouldn’t they?
    And why shouldn’t Muslims call for the death of infidels?”

    Because it’s a welcoming activity for freshmen.

    Presumably these freshmen are willing to be educated about the world in which they live? Or are we to be so worried about a pineapple named Mohammed, that  it must be suppressed? I always thought the British had quite a good sense of humour, until I encountered the attitudes of some newsworthy British Muslims. Ian Paisley looks quite moderate compared to this intolerant load of Islamic bullies.

  25. “these freshmen are willing to be educated about the world in which they
    live? Or are we to be so worried about a pineapple named Mohammed, that 
    it must be suppressed?”

    Again, they’ll be at that university for several years: There’s plenty of time to offend them. Indeed, the article mentions that they have an upcoming debate titled “Should we respect religion?”; doesn’t sound to me like they’re exactly walking as though on top of eggshells to avoid offending anybody.

    However, when a student union organizes welcoming activities, it’s only natural that they take some extra measures to make sure that the new students aren’t offended; the first few weeks at university are very worrisome for a lot of people, and you want to give them some time to get settled in and start making friends.

  26. This was an atheist group whose intention was to provoke some sort of reaction from Muslim students…

    So?

    ..by ridiculing their Prophet.

    And how exactly is naming a pineapple Mohammed ridiculing this prophet? Why shouldn’t students in Britain ridicule any prophet they want to, including the Great Prophet Zarquon?

    Jeez, Katy, this is Britain, not Saudi Arabia. Have you no sense of humour either?

  27. Well done the Reading Student’s Union for taking the only action possible to bring this idiocy to a wider audience. If they’d tolerated the pineapple they would only have shielded religion from the justified mockery it is now receiving. Maybe I’m just an incurable optimist but it seems to me that all this muslim “outrage” will soon be as credible as a little boy crying “Wolf”

  28. I too can see the likeness and I also must say that this crap about not offending muslims is getting out of hand, the more orginisations become touchy then the more people must show up their fear or else we will be left with a society that dare not speak out of line.

  29. Rupert Sutton, who blogs on Student Rights, a website which claims to ‘tackle extremism on campuses’, said the student union was wrong to censor the society. He said: ‘Extremes of free speech should be limited to ensure that they do not become hate speech.

    1. There is no such thing as extreme free speech. If I cannot be outrageous, I do not have free speech, Q.E.D.

    2. Dear Mr. Sutton: Please supply unambiguous descriptions of free speech and hate speech in which Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not emasculated:

    “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”

    Peace.

  30. Why is homosexuality with between men who are not slaves wrong in politics yet eating pork, tatooing and charging interest in Christian societies is ok.  The lesson is it is about power and bullying, not about respect for religious tennents no one follows.  Just by moving out of an islamic society immigrants have shown the same lack of following their religious rules just like everyone else.

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