The pineapple is to be disciplined

The student union at Reading University has informed the RU Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society that it has come to the conclusion that the Society acted in breach of the behavioural policy. Its decision is that the Reading University Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society should be referred to a disciplinary panel.

You remember what this is about, I trust. The RU Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society had a table at the student fair; on the table it had a pineapple with the label “Mohammed.” Some students said it was offensive. The Society members were ejected from the fair.


  1. eric says

    Your post title would make an excellent response.

    The RU Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society should put on a mock trial of a pineapple, discliplining it for having the name ‘Mohammed.’

  2. Select says

    In the UK Islam is now the de facto highest law in the land.

    IN a few more years it will perhaps become impossible for some atheist/humanist organisations to even operate at some univerities because of islamist sensitivities.

    Anyone up for a “Piss Mohammed”

    Of course, Americs is not much better these days

  3. Mike Booth says

    “In the UK Islam is now the de facto highest law in the land.”

    And they’ve banned the word “Christmas”, and you can’t say “black coffee” because it’s racist.

    Utter tosh.

  4. rogelio says

    Everyone has the right to be offended at anything they choose and they don’t have to justify what they feel.

    But nobody has the right to never be offended.

  5. F says

    Yeah, I remember. Did not one of the “authorities” briefly return it re-branded as Jesus or something? The whole thing is freaking weird.

  6. davidhart says

    That is astonishing. Well I hope at least that the University’s Muslim society themselves are not actively supporting this – i.e. that it’s just a matter of the Student Union being weirdly over-deferential to the religious and weirdly over-censorious of the non-religious.

  7. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Couldn’t the AHSS counter-charge the SU for acting in breach of intelligence and/or common sense?

  8. iknklast says

    Anyone up for an international Pineapple Mohammed Day? I’d love to see pineapples sprout all over the world, in store fronts and colleges and cab windows and anywhere else you can fit a pineapple (OK, scratch that – there are some things that go better unsaid) – and each and every pineapple named Mohammed. Maybe a few mangos, bananas, and grapefruits, too.

  9. JoeBuddha says

    I know I’d have a Banana Mohammed next year. However, I don’t respond well to unwarranted criticism. Maybe they could have a different fruit every year!

  10. says

    Wait a minute – the Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society, knowing full well that calling a pineapple Mohammed would offend someone, went out of it’s way to do so?

    And now you’re shocked and appalled that you have to take responsibility for your actions? How can apparently intelligent people be so surprised?

    This isn’t about freedom of speech, it’s about acting like bullies. This is about one group going out of it’s way to impress it’s will on another. This about the Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society picking a fight with the Muslim students, and then whining when they are told stop acting like childish playground thugs.

    Being an atheist does not mean you get to dictate what others believe. Nor does it mean you get to be a religious bigot (which you can do without having a religion).

    If you want to change minds, organize debates, talk to people and listen. Be kind. Learn to see the world from their view point. Adapt. If you’ve got a good argument, you change minds and lives. It’s hard work, but so is anything worth doing. Don’t simply lob insults at one group or another then moan like cowards when you get called on it.

  11. 'dirigible says

    “And now you’re shocked and appalled that you have to take responsibility for your actions?”

    I’m shocked and appalled at the over-reaction and its enforcement by a state educational institution.

    Do you believe that privileging ideological sensitivity in this way is a good thing?

    If so, given that your views offend me, who do I report *you* to?

    “Being an atheist does not mean you get to dictate what others believe. Nor does it mean you get to be a religious bigot (which you can do without having a religion).”

    How exactly did they dictate that others must believe the pineapple is Mohammed?

    And it’s not possible to be a religious bigot without religion. It is of course possible to be bigoted against the religious. I don’t think a pineapple falls into that category though.

    Your confusion aside, if you believe that people should have legal redress over fruit displays that they don’t like then supermarkets are in big trouble.

  12. Ermine says

    Err, Charles..

    Precisely what insults were being lobbed here, by putting a nametag on a pineapple?

  13. Aratina Cage says

    Wait a minute – the Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society, knowing full well that calling a pineapple Mohammed would offend someone, went out of it’s way to do so?

    How can anyone read that and not burst out laughing? A pineapple! Called Mohammed! *in tears*

  14. Aratina Cage says

    You know, back in the day we used to serve pineapples on platters, along with an instructional memo, to particularly obnoxious trolls for their personal enjoyment.

  15. Select says

    @Mike Booth.

    For well over a decade now, whenever there has been a dust-up between Muslim sensitivities ( ie aspects of sharia…Allah’s eternal and immutable law) and common english law, the latter has ALWAYS taken a back seat.

    I’m not saying that Sharia is the UK’s de jure legal system. but it is now the country’s de-facto law system, and anything or anyone, or any idea coming into conflict with it is inevitably forced to stand down.

    Islam, ‘prophet’ and the koran have been placed high on a pedestal and are now out of reach of anyone.

    That this his pineaple incident, even though it’s absured beyond belief, was nonetheless taken most seriously by the university’s administration just serves to further illustrate my point.

    In England, speech is now de facto policed/regulated according to the demands/precepts of sharia.

    The lines have been drawn with regards to the limits
    of muslim “sensitivities”, and of you cross those lines, there’ll be consequences.

  16. Don Quijote says

    What’s happened to student unions in the UK? There was a time when they were the leading edge of radical thought.

  17. says

    A door to door salesman does not begin by asking you to buy the vacuum.

    He begins by asking you to pick up the pen he dropped. His hands are full, he says. It’s just a little thing you can do for me.

    It is the little things you give up, a little at a time. And you are to think at each step: it’s a little thing. And so is this next little thing he has asked. Why not give up this, too? What is the harm? It’s a little thing.

    In short order, you have a new vacuum. And the payment schedule. Notwithstanding you already had a vacuum.

    Religions are full of apparently arbitrary–and frequently apparently harmless and unimportant–dictates for this reason. It is key to how they expand their power over you.

    They will seek to coax you to obey the little things, the apparently harmless things, a little at a time. It is a little thing you can do for us. We need this sign of respect. We’ll be terribly hurt, otherwise. Do you want to see our sad face? Please don’t do this. Please do this instead. Just sing this hymn with us. Just attend this service, no pressure. Just please pick up this pen. My hands are full.

    I would thus strongly recommend the student society be told where they can put the pineapple, and how. And that any religious authority that genuinely did press in this direction be told the same.

    The slippery slope is generally an argument of suspect worth. But with religions, you will find it frequently very informative. As this is how they work, whether the representatives to whom you are currently talking even intend it or not. For this is how religions are built, how conversions are managed.

    You will find also as little thing are ruled out of bounds it becomes harder to argue. You thought it harmless enough, when first you gave it away. But now that the rule is you cannot draw a picture of the god or the prophet, the power of illustration and caricature to reduce a humbug to what it is has passed out of your reach. One more tool, gone. And you’re fighting that colossal humbug, laughable as you once thought it, now with nine fingers, instead of ten.

    Continue in this vein, and it’s with one hand behind your back.

    Keep this in mind, always, when dealing with salespeople, or with religionists, or with theocrats, any who seek power, any who bring you a creed for which they seek new followers. And bear in mind those that come to you, apparently obsequious, cap in hand, apparently powerless, in need of your help, but asking such curious things as these, they may be anything but powerless. They may, rather, be quite skilled.

    And don’t pick up the pen.

  18. says

    Select @ 18 – this is not the university administration, it’s the student union.

    And sharia is not the de facto law of the land in the UK. Don’t be silly. Exaggeration isn’t useful.

  19. eric says

    Wait a minute – Charleseufarley, knowing full well that calling us “bullies” and “supposedly intelligent” would offend someone, went out of his way to do so?

    String him up! He should not be shocked, appalled, or surpsised. After all, I’m sure he realizes he has to take responsibility for his actions.

    This is about one group going out of it’s way to impress it’s will on another.

    Exactly right. The humanists are trying to say something, and the student union is going out of its way to prevent them from speaking their message.

  20. Select says


    According to official versions it was the student union. However, I suspect that university administrators put a great deal of pressure on the union to act as it did. Money, threats, donations/grants from the Gulf States and Muslim foreign students with cash to burn all enter into the portrait.

    Don’t kid yourself.

    There have been many, many clever test cases set up by islamists in the UK ( and here in Canada as well)to test the waters, to prick and poke here, there and everywhere in order to find the weakspots.

    All sorts of manufactured conflicts have been wheeled out to this end, and it’s been a very brilliant and effective strategy. An incremental death-by-a-thousand-cuts routine so well alluded to by AJ Miln @20

    Countless legal scuffles provoked by islamists concerning the ‘right’ to wear a hijab, the ‘right’ to halal food, the ‘right’ to prayer spaces in public buildings and secular institutions and time off for prayer in the workplace etc have ALL ended in victory for the adepts of sharia.

    And even sharia tribunals themselves are slowly but surely supplanting and replacing Britian’s common law legal systeme when it comes to regulating disputes between Muslims.

    Ils ont juste à crier à “l’islamophobie” et à l’intolerance et le tour est joué.

    The pineapple thing is just the latest incident in this ongoing ‘mental conditioning’ that ultimately aims to force people to submit to sharia.

    Im not exaggerating, I’m just a little ahead of the curve.

  21. says

    Select – no, according to the student union it was the student union.

    You suspect is not good enough grounds for declaring it as a fact. Don’t do that here. Don’t say it’s the administration when you don’t know that. (The LSE admin ended up adjudicating the conflict between that SU and the SU ASH group, in favor of the latter.)

  22. says

    I am offended by all the jokes about people being offended by the Student Union policing the student organization for being offensive. If anyone is offended by that, I find your taking offense to be offensive. I DEMAND SATISFACTION.

  23. says

    I’d like to add:

    I don’t know, personally, to what extent any of these things are organized, planned, or coordinated. My primary observation would be: they don’t need to be; as noted above, the whole mechanism of apparently tiny things we must simply insist upon is to a degree built into religions themselves, which have evolved their routines and methods for doing this kind of thing over a long period of time.

    My comment was primarily, in my mind, addressed to the question implied by one complaint above: why bother, if it is only meant to offend? Does this make the people who made the pineapple somehow aggressors, unreasonable?

    It’s the kind of thing your gut might suggest to you. But note it is somewhat ‘offensive’ by certain persons’ sensibilities not to pick up the pen, too. Perhaps more offensive still to hang up on telemarketers (as I frequently do), or to lean and pick up the pen when it is ‘accidentally’ dropped, fling it out the door and into the middle of the street and tell the pushy bastard with his foot in front of the door jamb to go fucking fetch it if he still wants it (which I haven’t yet done, but may well someday do).

    (… no, I don’t much like a certain variety of salespeople. Can you tell? Anyway…)

    Look, also, here, at what is being considered ‘offensive’. And consider also that it is a reduction of freedom of expression not to be able to do this. And though it may seem initially small, it really isn’t.

    This is an important thing to consider, too. People think, in each instance, well, that’s up to me, and that’s just about me. I don’t need to do it, so I’ll let it go.

    The trouble is, it’s never just about you, when you give up such things, publicly, however big and sweet a person you imagine yourself to be by doing so. It actually has a knock on effect, saying, oh, fine then, no worries, we don’t really need to do the pineapple thing. People think they’re just being fair, charitable, reasonable, being the peacemaker the world needs, when they give this apparently trivial right up for themselves, in this specific instance, thinking, hell, I wasn’t using it anyway, or didn’t need it that much.

    Beyond the psychological effects discussed of such submissions, it has that knock on effect when others see the example, and eventually no one dares draw the prophet, dares draw the god, whether they see it as simply impolite or uncivil, or actively fear repercussions. It changes the whole environment. And then it changes the whole character of what people even dare think, when you start cutting away at what they can say, what they can draw, what they can write. And, again, you lose methods you had of criticizing daft and unpleasant and nasty ideas, freedoms you may well need for this purpose, eventually.

    I wrote it before, I’ll write it again: you do have to stick your elbows out. You are pressing against a doctrine that, in this instance, is some 1300 years old now, and that is now held by millions, has had all that time to spread. And right now, especially as communications networks spread and improve and tie all our voices closer together, these worlds are colliding and melding quickly, and the shape of your own will be thus shaped by how you, personally, respond to the collision. Giving these bits of ground, thinking, fine, I can be the big one, here, I can be fair, I can be helpful, I can try to get along, I can accept this taboo and just not do what they might find offensive, it’s not going to work out terribly well for you over the longer run if there’s enough people pushing the other way who just aren’t being so reasonable, and feel they can’t or won’t because of doctrines they receive as divine, unquestionable wisdom, and which they see as ironclad, and non-negotiable.

    And that’s the problem, that last bit. Apparently reasonable human reactions and concessions to apparently individual human acts are subverted by the manipulations religions (and door to door salespeople) learn to do. When you’re dealing with systems like that, you do need to start reconsidering just what is reasonable.

  24. xmaseveeve says

    Brilliant, AJ.
    Mike, it’s not tosh. Offended Muslim students complained. The pineapple was a joke. This is outrageous, to grab offence at a joke. And it was an inoffensive joke. Pineapples are pretty, and sweet. It’s not as though it was a joke-shop turd wearing a wee beard.
    (I’m glad they won, although I disagree about the proposed name change, to include “ex-Muslim”.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *