Two months ago, Abhishek Phadnis and Chris Moos, students at the London School of Economics, were manning a table for their school’s atheist group at an organizational fair when they were told they had to remove their “offensive” shirts that featured the title characters from the webcomic Jesus & Mo:
When we asked what rules or regulations we were in breach of, they told us that they did not need to give reasons for removing students, and we would be informed at a later point in time. As we refused to take off our t-shirts or leave without appropriate explanation, we were told that LSE security would be called to physically remove us from the building. We came to the Freshers’ Fair to promote our society to new students. Our ability to do that was heavily curtailed by the actions of the LSESU staff. We especially felt that the abrasive behaviour of the LSESU staff was not aimed at protecting other students from harm, but rather an attempt [to] humiliate us in front of dozens of students.
The next day, in protest, they wore the shirts again, this time with tape over the images of the characters with the phrases “This has been censored” and “Nothing to see here” written on it. That didn’t go over well, either:
Shortly after midday, the LSESU Deputy Chief Executive Jarlath O’Hara approached us, demanding we take the t-shirts off as per his instructions of the previous day. We explained to him that we had covered the “offensive” parts this time, and offered to use our tape to cover any other areas deemed “offensive”. He refused to hear us out, insisting that if we did not take off the whole t-shirt, LSE Security would be called to bodily remove us from the premises. He left, warning us that he was summoning LSE Security to eject us.
Keep in mind these were not offensive images of Jesus or Muhammad. It was criticism of religious ideas, not Muslims. Yet, the students were told to change their clothes because they were “offending” people. It was ridiculous, spurring many students to wear Jesus & Mo shirts of their own on campus in protest.