Shaima Dallali seeks legal advice as campaign groups rally

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Several campaign groups have signed a joint statement in support of the dismissal of National Union of Students (NUS) President Shaima Dallali. It shows the strength of sentiment that exists about the actions of NUS – and that there is cross-organizational support for Dallali.

The NUS: “deeply politicized” against Dallali

As the Canary previously reported, the NUS suspended then sacked Dallali on alleged anti-Semitism – including a tweet from 2012 for which she had already apologized. People have been hurling racist and Islamophobic slurs at him online because of the situation. Dallali said about it:

Unfortunately as a black muslim woman this is something I expected because I have seen this happen to other black muslim women when they hold positions in the student union or NUS where they are attacked because of their political beliefs or their pro-Palestinian position.

Moreover, the NUS made public the dismissal of Dallali before telling him, and did so on the first day of Islamophobia Awareness Month. Thus, various individuals and organizations have condemned the actions of NUS. The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) called the union’s decision “deeply politicized” and said it had:

come to the conclusion that NUS is no longer an organization that takes Muslims or Islamophobia seriously and is therefore not a safe space for Muslims.

Now a collective of organizations has written an open letter about the situation.

Contributing to “anti-Palestinian racism”

The groups that signed the letter are:

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  • The Palestine Solidarity Campaign,
  • The British Palestinian Committee,
  • The Diaspora Alliance,
  • The European Center for Legal Assistance,
  • The Muslim Association of Britain,
  • The Palestinian Forum.

You can read the full statement here. The groups said in a joint press release that the letter raises:

concerns about conflating legitimate criticism of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people with anti-Semitism. He also criticizes the NUS for abandoning “its duty of care to its elected president”, adding that Dallali has faced “horrific abuse and death threats”.

The signatories are also concerned about the disproportionate involvement of the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), which they say has been given significant authority over the investigation and the appointment of the independent investigator. They describe how it violates due process due to numerous allegations against Dallali involving criticisms she had made at UJS. They also point out that this ignores the role the UJS has played in confusing anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people.

The statement also expresses concern about the expected outcome of the broader NUS investigation into the institution itself. And he shares fears that the survey’s findings “rather than combat the very real problem of anti-Semitism, will instead contribute to anti-Palestinian racism and the silencing of Palestinian self-defense.”

The NUS and Dallali: see you in court?

So far the NUS said nothing more to the statement she released on November 1. However, the president of the Muslim Association of Britain, Raghad Altikriti, put his finger on the actions of the union:

We are deeply concerned about the racist and Islamophobic precedent the NUS has set. Sadly, Shaimaa is yet another young Muslim woman of color subjected to a public onslaught of hate.

And the situation is not over yet. Dallali already has legal representation. Her lawyers, Carter-Ruck, said in a statement that she was:

considering all available remedies following his summary dismissal

Let’s hope Dallali takes the NUS to court for his appalling treatment.

Image selected via City, University of London – YouTube


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