Malia Bouattia, the newly elected President of the National Union of Students (NUS), has criticised a number of media outlets and rejected claims that she is anti-semitic.
Writing in the Guardian newspaper she said:
“Specifically, on the claims that I refused to condemn Isis: two years ago I delayed a National Executive Council motion condemning Isis – but that was because of its wording, not because of its intent. Its language appeared to condemn all Muslims, not just the terror group. Once it was worded correctly I proposed and wholly supported the motion. Yet newspaper reports this week still depict me as a young Muslim who supports Isis. This is simply not true”.
“There is no place for antisemitism in the student movement, or in society. If any of my previous discourse has been interpreted otherwise, such as comments I once made about Zionism within the media, I will revise it to ensure there is no room for confusion”.
Simon Heffer, of the Daily Telegraph, wrote:
“Some universities, realising the damage this poisonous woman and her odious supporters do to them by association, are threatening to disaffiliate from the NUS. So they should. Extremists such as her are driving the steady death of free speech in universities, such as attempts to prevent Germaine Greer and Peter Tatchell from speaking on campuses. Miss Bouattia is 28, and apparently a perpetual student. If any public money is being wasted on her obviously inadequate education, it should be cut off at once – and she should be prosecuted for incitement”.
Bouattia didn’t though reference the article she co-authored entitled that Birmingham University was “something of a Zionist outpost in British higher education”.
Bouattia’s election has caused a potentially serious schism within the NUS with a number of university associations threatening to withdraw from the organisation. Universities including Aberystwyth, Birmingham, Cambridge, Exeter, King’s College London, the London School of Economics, Manchester, Oxford and York are discussing holding a disaffiliation referendum.