As students at University College London prove that there is nothing about which someone can’t find something to take offence, Jesus and Mo show how to create a world that might suit our oh-so-sensitive souls:

And, right on cue, UCL’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association put out a Facebook statement in response to the row insisting that

Once a particular act is deemed to be offensive to another, it is only good manners to refrain from, at the very least, repeating that act.

Follow that advice and we truly would be living in Jesus and Mo’s bar of silence.

Many have seen the UCL row as the latest expression of Muslims with thin skins. In fact, it’s not just Muslims that cry ‘Offence!’ at the merest sniff of a chance.  In a week in which Labour MP Diane Abbott was forced to apologise (and nearly lost her shadow ministerial post) after an innocuous tweet sent conservatives into a fake lather condemning her ‘racism’, and demanding her sacking, and in which David Cameron was hauled over the coals for suggesting that shadow chancellor Ed Balls was acting as if suffering from Tourette’s syndrome, it is clear that Muslims are not alone in possessing a thin skin, or pretending to. As I wrote last month:

Outrage these days has become almost a means of defining oneself, of marking out one’s identity. I know who I am because I am outraged by this, you know who you are because you are outraged by that. Muslims, Christians, atheists, liberals, conservatives –  for every group outrage has become an expression of self-definition. The mark of identity is the possession of a thin skin.

And what was the image that caused so much concern at UCL? Here it is:

Don’t faint with shock.


  1. I am inclined to agree with the Ahmadiyya students up to a point – if it is possible to avoid causing offense then that’s a good idea. However, as the very existence of some people/belief systems causes offense (unfortunately) to others then it obviously can’t always be accommodated as an approach. As with most situations if the long, broad view is taken, perspective usually returns. In other words – pick your battles.

    My guess is that it’s a shaky sense of personal identity that causes this problem all round. If you have a strong sense of who you are and what you stand for then you are always less likely to take offense or to object to other people with different views.

  2. Gabriel Andrade

    As a consequentialist,I am offended by your deontological remarks; as a psychoanalyst, I am offended by your behaviorist speech; as a Marxist, I am offended by your liberal thought; as a rationalist, I am offended by your empiricism; as a materialist, I am offended by your idealism… where does it stop?

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