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Hasty sanctions imposed on NUS

27th May 2022
Hasty sanctions imposed on NUS

At the root of the ‘Partygate’ scandal are accusations of blatant hypocrisy by an uncaring Johnson Government, summarised as telling the public what to do but being in denial itself of its regulation.

It’s the contemptible hallmark of barefaced double standards. The latest example, this month has been the knee-jerk reaction to suddenly imposing sanctions against the umbrella organisation, the National Union of Students.

It is over the ever-increasing allegations of alleged anti-Semitism that the ruling Conservative Party has consistently refused for years to carry out an independent investigation into the extent of Islamophobia in its party.

The new episode of finger-pointing coincidentally started with the election of Shaima Dallali as NUS President in March. Her victory, not the first by a Muslim female with black skin, was immediately tarnished by the Jewish Chronicle, after claiming it had gained ‘evidence’ from the witchhunt Labour Against Antisemitism (LAAS) campaign group digging up her social media history. The essence appears to be directed against her support for Palestinian rights and the Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The weekly immediately was bating for funding of the NUS to be cut.

Yet in a succession of contrary statements issued during April, the NUS expressed “unequivocal support” for Jewish students, saying there was “no place for antisemitism in the student movement.” The organisation representing seven million students also announced it was launching an independent investigation and would appoint a QC, in consultation with the Union of Jewish Students. It expressed its deep concern that “public allegations are being made by government ministers and government advisors without evidence or engaging in any due process.”

Economic pressure and a blanket boycott have been exerted by successive governments for decades against mainstream Muslim organisations, but to no avail. Despite reaching out “on multiple occasions” to discuss whatever was behind the Government’s hypothetical concerns, the response by the

Department of Education was to issue a press release without any consultation with the student body, stating it was effectively cutting relations and stopping funding for the NUS.

The organisation, with no less than 600 affiliated unions, is being removed from all the DfE groups and replaced with such alternatives as the Department’s ill-conceived own appointed regulator, which acts as a competition authority for the higher education sector in England.

It is the tone of the threat to the NUS that is worrying, not only inferring that it is checking whether the election of Dallali could have been rigged but reportedly also considering referring the body to the Charity Commission. The Tory Chair of the Education Select Committee, Robert Halfon, has apparently already written to the commission, accusing the organisation of fostering a “culture of discrimination” against Jewish students.

The campaign against the students’ union comes as universities are already embroiled in a battle over free speech, with the Government seeking to further limit what is deemed acceptable as well as the scope of academic research. The expanding interpretation of anti-Semitism has long been a moot point. The fear is that any legitimate concerns are being exploited to weaken student rights and silence anyone advocating such issues as Palestinian rights.

Image: Pixabay License

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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