At the recent Freshers Fair at the London School of Economics the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society manned their stall wearing t-shirts featuring Jesus and Mo cartoons. Officers of the Student Union, backed up by university security, decided that the t-shirts created an “offensive environment” and constituted “harassment” that threatened to “disrupt the event”.
Let’s talk plainly about this. They objected because the t-shirts displayed a depiction of Mohammed. Islam adopts a rule of not depicting Mohammed, and the LSE SU have decided that everyone else at their university must obey this rule. Not to adopt this Islamic rule for yourself is “offensive” to Muslims and thus “harasses” them. It constitutes “Islamophobia”, a form of “racism”, in the Union’s overly broad interpretation of that word.
Admittedly, the t-shirts also contained a depiction of Jesus, but everyone knows that that was not the issue. Further, the mere display of satirical cartoons is not the problem. You can bet that, were the LSESU’s Labour or Conservative society to display satirical cartoons of political leaders — of the sort that appear every day in newspapers — then no-one would bat an eyelid.
Notice that, in reporting the affair, the Independent showed one panel of the offending cartoon. Which panel? You won’t be surprised that it was the only one of the four panels that depicted Jesus but not Mo. Continue reading