Oct 5 2012
The Reading University Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society students were thrown out of their Freshers’ Fair because they included a pineapple named ‘Mohammed.’ Officials were afraid the blasphemous pineapple would upset and distress Muslims, causing them to riot.
UK Daily Mail When they were ordered to remove the offending fruit by union staff, 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.’ (Not anymore, you don’t) They claimed the union then issued them with the ultimatum: ‘Either the pineapple goes or you do.’ According to RAHS, a group of students surrounded their stall and removed the pineapple’s name tag before the society was ‘forced to leave the venue’ accompanied by security. 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. ‘However, 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.
‘Whilst this action by the RAHS may have been provocative, they should have every right to do it. ‘Instead of closing down debate, Reading University Student Union (RUSU) should be encouraging students to interact with one another rather than pandering to the hurt feelings of the devout.’