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Fruit and nuts: atheist group ejected from university fair over pineapple called Mohammed

A SCUFFLE over a pineapple called Mohammed broke out at Reading University yesterday after members of the Reading University Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society (RAHS) refused to remove it from their stall at a freshers’ fair.

Mad Mo and a pineapple

The prickly fruit, according to this report, was intended draw attention to RAHS’s upcoming debate,  entitled “Should we respect religion?”

According to the society, they displayed a pineapple bearing the name Mohammed on their stall, to:

Encourage discussion about blasphemy, religion, and liberty.

A society spokesperson 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.

In the afternoon, group members were given their marching orders. They were informed they had to leave the fair by a member of Reading University Student Union (RUSU) staff. The reason given was that several complaints had made against the “offensive” pineapple, although RAHS members insist they were not made aware of any such protestations.

The society refused to remove the fruit due to their “commitment to freedom of expression”. They were then told by the RUSU member:

Either the pineapple goes, or you do.

A struggle ensued for possession of the fruit. It was seized, but later returned it to its owners, who renamed it Jesus.

According to the RAHS, a small group of students then gathered around the table and forcefully removed the pineapple’s name tag. The society was then “forced to leave the venue”, accompanied by security staff.

The society voiced its disappointment at the chain of events, saying:

Our intent in displaying a pineapple labelled ‘Mohammed’ was to draw attention to cases where religion has been used to limit freedom of expression and other fundamental rights.

A spokesperson from the student activist group Student Rights said that the ejection:

Effectively amounts to a punishment for blasphemy, and should be deeply concerning for those who support freedom of expression on our university campuses.

The group said:

Whilst hate speech on campus is unacceptable, students do not have the right to impose their religious sensibilities on others, and they must accept that they may be offended by those who do not share their convictions.

The actions of the Atheist Society may have been provocative, but its members should have every right to express their views and not be censored. Instead of closing down debate Reading University Student Union should be encouraging students to interact with one another rather than pandering to the hurt feelings of the devout.

The university’s student union has yet to respond.

Hat tip: Remigius

37 Responses to “Fruit and nuts: atheist group ejected from university fair over pineapple called Mohammed”

  1. remigius says:

    I reckon there’s a dance studio in London that’s shitting itself right now!

  2. Cameron Logan says:

    Can’t see the resemblance at all.

  3. Trevor Blake says:

    I officially, formally and without possibility of revocation beginning now and enduring forever re-name the Reading University Student Union to MOHAMMED.

  4. [...] also this image It’s all just the latest in a long line of atheist/fruit co-mingling:(via The Freethinker) /* /* Filed Under: General, Secular Student Alliance 2 Comments « The Bible-Promoting [...]

  5. the Woggler says:

    From now on, I’m calling my dick Mohammed.

  6. Lazy Susan says:

    I can’t see that the atheist group’s pineapple is significantly different from a poster advocating that you let Jesus into your heart or whatever … it is certainly not imposing anything on anyone. I hope everyone there starts wearing Mohammed name badges.

    Poor widdle Iswam.

  7. JohnMWhite says:

    What is it with authoritarian religions and their abject cowardice? They’re terrified of the slightest mockery, as if people who have never given a toss about their faith having a laugh at it will cause their god to throw himself off a bridge or something, and their very first instinct is to bully dissenters and shut down any discussion. Pathetic, as are their enablers who think freedom of speech only applies to religious bigots telling gay people they’re going to hell.

    The university acted beyond childishly here, and showed just how silly and infantile Islam and all authoritarian religion is.

  8. Matt Westwood says:

    It’s not about “terrified of the slightest mockery”, it’s about “Our religion allows us to make lots of lovely juicy trouble, which gives me a wonderful adrenalin rush. All we need is a teensy little excuse and we can, nay we are positively encouraged to, go on a spiritually-sanctioned rampaging orgy of violence!”

  9. RabbitOnAStick says:

    What would be interesting to learn is if the group that surrounded the RHAS were muslims or other morons who think they know how muslims become so hurt by this. A bit like Ikea airbrushing out ALL of the women in their Saudi catalogue. How dumb is that. Are there no women in Saudi? What non-muslim person thinks they are so clever to do this in case it offends muslims is really quite sad.

    As to any name being placed on a fruit you only have to think back to the Sudanese incident with the school teddy naming incident to consider how muslims are so easily ‘hurt’ and utterly distressed by such pathetic things. And how they react so disproportionally – usually with extreme violence – to the reality of what is occurring. This religion has a long way to come primarily because it is so invidious and absolutely cannot tolerate any form of ‘speech or discussion’ or anything alleged as a hurt. The fervent but violent behaviour (as I have said before) is so very real. (if in this case the objectors were muslins).

    But who or what is being hurt or offended. This is really the crux of the matter. There is no blasphemy law in Britain and these people really do want one. They demand and clamour for it at every opportunity. But it degrades us as humans and debases society and our freedoms. We should be able to exercise our freedoms within the law without fear, as otherwise we are living in a totalitarian state where we have to accept something which is plainly not for all of us. Putting a name on a fruit. How can this be hurtful. Is the fruit somehow a person? And what person is this? We must be able to put names on any effigy to debate or start debate. What of the frothing at the mouth muslims we see on news reports going mental at effigies of the US and Obama etc etc is this offensive to us? No we treat it with the contempt it deserves. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad as usually these madmen run amok killing ‘their own’ innocent people in their deluded rabid state. Somehow in Pakistan they burnt down at least one cinema. [I can’t make the connection either to the muslim video].

    The only way the securitymen could have dealt with this is to prevent a breach of the peace. But that word on a pineapple hardly constitutes the intent to provoke such a breach. Mostly the problem lies with interfering immature cretins who populate all these stupid religions.

  10. remigius says:

    @Cameron Logan – ‘Can’t see the resemblance at all.’

    Both have to be handled carefully, otherwise the pricks will hurt you!

  11. barriejohn says:

    Quite apart from the sheer lunacy of this “blasphemy” nonsense, amd all the phoney “offence” and “outrage”, has there only been ONE Mohammed in the whole of history? I do realize the reason why the fruit was named Mohammed, and kudos to the students for that, but in the case of the toy bear the name was chosen by the children because it was such a popular child’s name! They are beyond help, aren’t they?

  12. Groover says:

    I’ve just had a nice early morning dump. I’ve named the pile of shit Reading university students union cos it stinks. Fuckwits!!

  13. Matt Westwood says:

    The incident with the bear was nothing to do with the fact that the name of the bear caused outrage. It was about the fact that an excuse was needed by the fascist dictatorship to remove an infidel woman from potentially corrupting the chirden’s minds with Western liberal philosophies.

    These things rarely operate in a vacuum. There is usually a hidden agenda. In Pineapplegate it was probably about jockeying for political power and an officious young oik who felt he had an excuse to throw his paltry weight around. These “student union staff” members are generally themselves students who have been elected by their peers, and as such their personal qualities are on a par with those of (name your least favourite politician).

  14. Kev Latham says:

    “Universities are so determined to impose tolerance that they’ll expel you for saying what you think and never notice the irony.”

    John Perry Barlow

    Just about says it all especially when enriched by the fear some people have of religious nutters.

  15. Angela_K says:

    Student Unions are not what they used to be, the immature PC extremists rule.

    Universities should be about the pursuit of knowledge, pushing the boundaries of science and challenging dogma; not kow-towing to religious fascists. Reading University Student Union should be ashamed.

  16. Adrian says:

    Groover,
    What a coinicidence! I’ve just done the same, but I called it Qu’ran.

  17. David Lawson says:

    Perhaps we could go through the Bible and and change all instances of Jesus name to Brian. We don’t need to change Mohammeds name because all the Muslims who themselves are called Mohammed do so in order to copy the Big Mo and are therefore by definition blasphemers in their own eyes by committing idolatry. They’re just too fucking stupid to realize it.

  18. barriejohn says:

    David Lawson: Just try calling them “Mohammedans” – which is what they really are – like we used to. They’ll all come flooding out of the woodwork screaming “WE DON’T WORSHIP MOHAMMED!”, as they don’t get it at all. It’s great fun though!

  19. AgentCormac says:

    For full effect maybe they should have drawn a cartoon of the pineapple and called that Mohammed.

  20. barriejohn says:

    Oh Christ, they still haven’t given up!

    http://www.calebfoundation.org/

  21. AceLeon says:

    Our Pineapple who art in Heaven, marshmallow be thy name

  22. Lazy Susan says:

    The response to the Koran exhibit suggests that it would be interesting to chalk stencil images or words on the pavements all over the place. For fairness the images should not just be of Mo, but of the whole pantheon, and in chalk not paint so that no permanent damage is done.

    Poor widdle Iswam.

  23. Lazy Susan says:

    Re the Giant’s Causeway, I can’t see why there should be any reference at all to this particular myth over any others. The only myth that has any grounds for being repeated is the one about Finn McCool.

    Else, where would it end? At every natural beauty spot, must we have an information board acknowledging that some idiots think the world is 6k years old?

  24. barriejohn says:

    But you could be corrupting innocent minds there, Lazy Susan. Cue more atheist riots!

  25. Broga says:

    However, the muslims or Caleb howl, they are on the skids. They are losing, they cannot win, they are, to use a phrase of my long dead Scots grandfather, “pissing against the wind.” You can see this. In the past the slightest “offensive” comment about Islam was unlikely as these killers would attack. Now so called “offensive” comments have become commonplace. And the more general these comments become the more diluted the response. They are trying to hold back a tide of common sense and demand for free speech. The fact that the most violent are the most unthinking and ignorant says it all. They should have called the pineapple Mo.

    The same for Caleb. They have been stopped in their tracks and they will continue to face opposition. The censorship of free speech has become impossible with the spread of the internet and the associated benefit is introducing the brainwashed to ideas they never knew existed. The spread of atheism is unstoppable and the growth of atheist groups in colleges is evidence of that.

  26. barriejohn says:

    Broga: I know a lot about the NI Protestants, as the Plymouth Brethren are very strong there and used to send evangelists and “teachers” over all the time to keep us wishy-washy Brits in line. There were also a lot of Belfast Brethren in Swindon after its expansion in the Fifties, and they were very influential there – as extremists always are! If you scroll down on the Caleb site and look at that silly Stephen Green-style list of “godly politicians” and “ungodly politicians” you can see that they are virtually spitting nails over the fact that THREE Unionist assembly members – including the “liberal” Basil McCrea (whom they loathe) – voted in favour of gay marriage. These must be the last days, brethren. The Lord’s Coming must, indeed, be very near!

  27. AgentCormac says:

    Having read the NT’s reworded exhibit text I’m glad to see that they have now stated unequivocally that they support the scientific evidence and only say that some people choose to disagree with it.

    Caleb’s response that the NT has “…set a precedent for others to follow” is priceless. What – put as much distance as you possibly can between your organisation and all creationists? It’s a precedent I very much hope will be heeded and followed by all public bodies.

  28. Reginald Selkirk says:

    I suspect that at Reading University there must be a few students named Mohammed. They must be banned from the RUSU, or perhaps from the university entirely.

  29. ivan says:

    In this week’s Private Eye (a British satirical magazine) they have a satirical article about the papyrus fragment that apparently refers to Jesus’s wife. At the bottom of the article, is a ready-prepared complaint letter for you to sign and send to the editor, reading “Dear Sir, You are pathetic hypocrites. You wouldn’t run this piece about Mohammed would you.” The editor thoughtfully provides a response to this anticipated complaint as follows: “No.”

  30. barriejohn says:

    Ivan: I was hoping that I might find that on the net, but no such luck (I subscribe to the magazine). I did find the following article, with very amusing cartoon, which I will post here, as the other thread has been hopelessly derailed now!

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/2012/09/24/the-rabbi-says-sure-jesus-had-a-wife/

  31. John Arnold says:

    Should be fun at Reading Uni cafeteria next time they serve up gammon & pineapple.

  32. Lazy Susan says:

    John Arnold – hee hee!

    Actually, yuck. I never did see why people would take an unpleasant piece of meat and make it worse.

  33. John Arnold says:

    Exactly, Lazy Susan – a repellent combination.

    Oddly, at school, we called it “Pig’n’Pine-A-Mo”! Did we know something?

  34. Matt Westwood says:

    Blasphemers! Gammon and pineapple are wonderful! Particularly, ironically enough, in bagels.

    They missed a trick though. They should have carved a bust of Big Mo out of a lump of gammon, and called it “Mo-ham-’ead”.