NUS Islamic State motion rejected
The National Union of Students’ National Executive Committee has rejected a motion condemning the Islamic State and endorsing solidarity with the Kurds and Iraqi people after opponents, led by Malia Bouattia, above, branded it ‘Islamophobic’.
According to this National Secular Society report, the motion, which had previously been adopted by NUS Scotland, was proposed by Daniel Cooper, a member of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), and co-written by Roza Salih, a recent graduate of Kurdish descent who is the Vice President Diversity & Advocacy at Strathclyde University’s student union.
Opposition to the motion was spearheaded by Malia Bouattia, the NUS’s Black Students Officer.
Cooper wrote that the motion had been blocked:
For astonishing and bewildering reasons.
Cooper said Bouattia claimed that the motion was “Islamophobic” and “pro USA intervention”, but clause 4 of the motion explicitly argued against US military intervention.
Cooper said that he was unable to counter these claims as the debate was moved on after only one round of speeches.
Cooper claimed that “there is a stranglehold of ‘identity politics’ on the student movement.” And that:
This is an issue which needs to be discussed in more depth, but essentially the idea is widespread that if a Liberation Officer opposes something, it must be bad.
Responding to Mr Cooper’s article, Bouattia and other members of the NUS NEC wrote:
We stand in complete solidarity with the Kurdish people against the recent attacks by ISIS and join many others in condemnation of their brutal actions. In doing so we recognise that condemnation of ISIS appears to have become a justification for war and blatant Islamaphobia. This rhetoric exacerbates the issue at hand and in essence is a further attack on those we aim to defend.
The NUS Black Students’ Campaign will be working with Kurdish students and the International Students Campaign to raise this issue within the NUS. A motion will be taken to the next NUS National Executive which truly reflects the situation. This motion will pose a condemnation of the politics and methods of ISIS as well as unequivocal support for the Kurdish people. It will in no way pander to Western imperialistic intervention or the demonisation of Muslim peoples.
Bouattia’s stance was backed by fellow NEC member and Labour councillor for Ockendon in Thurrock Aaron Kiely. In a tweet, since deleted, Kiely wrote that her “amazing” speech had challenged the:
Western, racist narrative around ‘ISIS’.
The failure by the NUS to adopt the motion has been widely criticised online, including by The Tab, a national student newspaper and by members of a Kurdish solidarity group which held an anti-Isis protest in London last week.
Meanwhile, it was reported here that Islamic State supporters last month infiltrated Istanbul University. One student, Aysegul Korkut, 21, told of an incident in which baton-wielding youths strode across the Department of Literature, shouting “Allahu Akbar!”
Within minutes, she and other leftist students had been sucked into a fight, with both sides hurling glass bottles at each other and trashing a science fair set up in the main hall.
The September 26 clash, described to The Associated Press by Korkut and a half a dozen other university students, was the first in a series of fights at Istanbul University’s Beyazit campus.
There has been repeated violence since, and Turkish media have reported scores of arrests. On one day alone 42 students were detained when police broke up a fight in a courtyard adjoining the department. Several sticks – and a meat cleaver – were recovered from the scene.
Hat tip: Antony Niall (Istanbul report)