FOSIS1 stands in solidarity with the President of the National Union of Students (NUS), Shaima Dallali, who has faced multiple Islamophobic and racist attacks since being overwhelmingly elected at the National Conference.
The NUS, as a representative body of students across the educational sphere, needs to uphold the democratic mandate given to Shaima Dallali and not undermine her position. It also needs to address institutional Islamophobia and racism within the organisation to send a message to Muslim students that it cares about their protection and rights. If NUS falls short of this, we have no choice but to protect Muslim students by advising our members in lobbying their Students’ Unions to disaffiliate from NUS.
We are deeply concerned with NUS’ negligence in communicating with FOSIS regarding the explicit Islamophobic abuse Shaima experienced, as part of the NUS-sanctioned Independent Investigation. NUS states2, “if there was a need to get expert input on Islamophobia, we would approach FOSIS for guidance and to advise on who may be able to help.” To date, we have not been contacted nor consulted regarding this matter which leads us to believe that the outcome of this investigation will be far removed from giving Shaima justice for what she has had to endure.
For many years FOSIS has dealt with troubling cases of Islamophobia experienced by Islamic Societies, Muslim Sabbatical Officers and the wider Muslim student community in both Higher and Further Education. This active targeting of Muslim students through a systematic pattern of over-scrutiny, bad faith allegations and being subject to a disproportionate level of disciplinaries using Islamophobic tropes reflects prejudice and endemic bigotry that spans the entire educational journey of Muslim students. What Shaima is experiencing is a clear extension of institutional Islamophobia within the education sector and it is apparent that NUS’ attitude towards Shaima is a manifestation of this oppression.
We, therefore, urge NUS to take the following actions –
- NUS to work with FOSIS to conduct an investigation into institutional Islamophobia within NUS.
- NUS to work with FOSIS to bring an external body to conduct an investigation into NUS’ handling of its duty of care toward Shaima Dallali.
- NUS to outline, how moving forward, it will uphold its duty of care towards Muslim and Black students – in particular its president, Shaima Dallali.
If significant steps aren’t taken towards these actions, we will have no choice as a body that represents over 130,000 Muslim students across the sector, to advise our members in Higher and Further Education to lead disaffiliation campaigns from the National Union of Students.
- FOSIS (est. 1963) is a national umbrella organisation aimed at supporting and representing Islamic Societies and Muslim Students in Higher and Further Education within the United Kingdom and Ireland.
- For more information on the FAQs of the NUS-sanctioned investigation into Anti-Semitism, please visit https://www.nus.org.uk/more/link-pages/frequently-asked-questions
- For more information on Shaima Dallali’s concerns over her safety and wellbeing, please visit https://www.theguardian.com/education/2022/apr/20/new-nus-leader-welcomes-antisemitism-inquiry-but-fears-for-her-safety