I hadn’t kept up with developments in the UCL/Jesus and Mo fuss until I got that email. There were developments.
The New Humanist reported that the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society at UCL reported that progress had been made.
While debate raged online, however, both the UCL union and the atheist society have been working to resolve the matter, and the ASHS have this morning announced that progress has been made, with the union agreeing that they can not ask the society to take down the image. This is explained by the society’s president, Robbie Yellon, in a statement on their Facebook page:
Good, good. Except…wait. What’s that in the third paragraph of that statement?
Unfortunately, the Union has considered the possibility that posting the image might have constituted an act of bullying, prejudice, harassment or discrimination. We firmly believe in the protection of our fellow students through University and Union policy; however we cannot accept such a suggestion. They have also considered the force of our actions and unwillingness to concede. As such, the society may be risking a disciplinary hearing which could lead to the forced resignation of committee members, or disaffiliation from the Union. In light of our now constructive relationship with the Union, such an event seems unlikely, though we would ask for your support should it ever occur.
The union agreed “they can no longer call on us to withdraw the image” but they might decide posting it was an act of bullying, prejudice, harassment or discrimination so they might punish ASHS anyway? Especially because of their unwillingness to concede? Their unwillingness to concede something that should never have been asked in the first place?
If that’s progress, what would regress look like?
David Shariatmadari reported the story for the Guardian, complete with picture of Richard Dawkins smiling in his usual strident way.
And the Pod Delusion talked to Dave of Jesus and Mo. Dave points out, as I like to do, that the sketchy “image” of Mo in J and M can’t really be said to be even an attempt at an actual picture of Mohammed, because who knows what he looked like? Also he explains about the barmaid but he doesn’t say about the rumor that she’s your humble servant.