Credit: National Union of Students

NUS suspends president as antisemitism investigation continues

By Kimberley Mannion

The National Union of Students is accused of both institutional antisemitism and islamophobia.

President of the UK’s National Union of Students (NUS) Shaima Dallali has been suspended from her position following allegations of antisemitism within the body. This decision comes after the delivery of the first part of an independent inquiry being carried out by Rebecca Tuck QC.

No disciplinary action has been taken against Dallali, and no such decisions will be made before the conclusion of the inquiry, which has still to investigate institutional discrimination against Jewish students within the NUS.

Dallali has previously apologized for a tweet she published in 2012 citing a historic Islamic battle cry: “Khaybar Khaybar O Jews…Muhammad’s army will return Gaza”, and said she is a “different person” now.

The NUS says it cannot comment on allegations whilst the QC-lead investigation is ongoing, but did state it is prepared to take on board all actions recommended.

The UK government cut ties with the NUS in May of this year in response to allegations of antisemitism. At that time, then Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi stated: “I am seriously concerned to hear of so many reports of alleged antisemitism linked to the NUS. Jewish students need to have confidence that this is a body that represents them, and we need to be sure that the student bodies that we engage with are speaking fairly for all students, which is why we are disengaging with the NUS until the issues have been addressed.”

In the NUS’s one hundred year history, this is believed to be the first time a president has been suspended. Following her suspension, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) spoke out in support of Dallali and also condemned the NUS for what it describes as its failure to address institutional islamophobia. FOSIS also said it “would have no option but to lead disaffiliation campaigns against NUS if action isn’t taken against the Islamophobic treatment of Shaima.”

The statement continues to say that Dallali has experienced Islamophobic and racist attacks since her election as NUS President and demands the NUS conducts an investigation into institutional islamophobia. “Bad faith allegations and being subject to a disproportionate level of disciplinaries using Islamaphobic tropes reflects prejudice and endemic bigotry that spans the entire educational journey of Muslim students,” states FOSIS.


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