Jewish students slam incoming NUS president for ‘attacking the Jewish community’
Shaima Dallali hit back: ‘The pre-emptive scrutiny of Muslim women is symptomatic of the nature of Gendered Islamophobia’
The incoming president of The National Union of Students (NUS) has been slammed for “attacking the Jewish community” and for “supporting speakers with extremely challenging views.”
Shaima Dallali has also come under fire for describing a homophobic Muslim cleric as “a moral compass.”
It has also emerged that Dallali raised money for a charity that described well-known terrorist Jihadi John as “kind and gentle.”
While the president-elect has apologised for a tweet she made in back in 2012 and expressed her support for the Jewish community, she has also hit back at her critics.
“The pre-emptive scrutiny of Muslim women is symptomatic of the nature of Gendered Islamophobia,” Dallali told The Tab.
Here’s everything we know about the controversy surrounding incoming NUS President Shaima Dallali:
Dallali wrote an offensive tweet directed at the Jewish community
Back in 2012, Dallali tweeted: “Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud.” This is a chant which refers to a massacre of Jews at the town of Khaybar in north western Arabia in the year 628. It translates to: “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning.”
After the tweet resurfaced, Dallali was quick to apologise for her actions. “Earlier today I was made aware of a tweet I posted 10 years ago,” she said in a statement.
“During Israel’s assault on Gaza I referenced the battle of Khaybar in which Jewish and Muslim armies fought. I was wrong to see the Palestine conflict as one between Muslims and Jews.
“The reference made as a teenager was unacceptable and I sincerely and unreservedly apologise.”
She referred to a homophobic Muslim cleric as a ‘moral compass’
In one article, written by Shaima Dallali back in 2019 she refers to Muslim cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi as “the moral compass for the Muslim community at large.”
When speaking about gay people, al-Qaradawi said: “Some say we should throw them from a high place, like God did with the people of Sodom. Some say we should burn them, and so on. There is disagreement.”
Discussing The Holocaust, al Qaradawi said: “Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption … The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them.”
When asked if she endorses the views of al Qaradawi or if she regretted calling him a moral compass, Shaima Dallali did not provide a comment.
Dallali raised money for a charity that described a terrorist as ‘kind and gentle’
In April 2020, Dallali raised money for Cage, a campaign group who are critical of Britain’s anti-terror policies.
The group came under fire in 2015 for referring to infamous Isis terrorist Jihadi John as “extremely kind and gentle.” Cage has previously denied it supports terrorists.
The NUS was already embroiled in an antisemitism controversy
The NUS has recently come under fire for its decision to host rapper Lowkey at its annual conference.
This was just a few days after Lowkey claimed in a tweet that the mainstream media had “weaponised the Jewish heritage” of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to “stave off” investigations into far-right groups in Ukraine.
Lowkey has also expressed support for sacked Bristol lecturer David Miller, who has been previously accused of making anti-Zionist comments.
The UJS claims Dallali has ‘attacked the Jewish community’
The Union of Jewish Students claimed Dallali had “attacked the Jewish community, UJS, and supported speakers with extremely challenging views.”
The union added: “There have been many bridges broken between @NUSuk and Jewish students over the past weeks. We call on Shaima and her team to join us in rebuilding those bridges to ensure that NUS becomes a space Jewish students once more feel welcomed into, rather than sidelined and excluded.”
Shaima Dallali: ‘Pre-emptive scrutiny of Muslim women is symptomatic of the nature of Gendered Islamophobia’
In a statement given to The Tab, Dallali expressed her support for the Jewish community and hit back at her critics.
Shaima Dallali told The Tab: “I am immensely proud and humbled to have been elected NUS National President. I am committed to standing up for all students in this role, when I take office in July.
“My hands are outstretched to all students that work in our movement, including Jewish students, and I have already expressed my willingness to arrange a meeting once I take office.
“I welcome accountability and scrutiny of myself, the spaces around us, the structures that confine us and the very education system we find ourselves in. This is precisely why I chose to run for this position. I stand ready to listen to the concerns of all students on how we can make our movement inclusive and open to all.
“Fighting injustice has been at the core of the student movement for 100 years, something that I know all too well having already received racist abuse online within hours of being elected. It shouldn’t be the case that Black and Brown women simply have to accept this as a fact of taking up space in the public life.
“That Black and Brown women have been elected to lead the student movement in the past few years should be something to celebrate, especially as the NUS celebrates its centenary. The current President, Larissa Kennedy, who has boldly led the NUS during the fallout from the pandemic, is in office until July and should be given the space to finish her two-year tenure.
“However, the pre-emptive scrutiny of Muslim women is symptomatic of the nature of Gendered Islamophobia. Individuals and groups will go out of their way to seek to criminalise Muslim women in leadership, without acceptance for any space for growth and change.
“The reality is that we can all introspect and reflect on our viewpoints. This is not just something we apply to Muslim women, which points to the importance of one of my priorities as President: decolonisation. I want to be able to understand history, political structures and figures in history and today who have been idolised to the point where they are exempt from scrutiny and accountability.
“Students in the UK and internationally face challenges in the here and now, and when I take office in July I’d like to focus on campaigning for a free, liberated, democratised and decolonised Education, with a focus on supporting students during the parallel cost of living & student mental health crises”.