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Newly Elected UK National Union of Students President Criticized Over Anti-Semitism; GIOR Investigation Reveals More

April 8th, 2022 13:49

British media is report­ing that Shaima Dal­lali, the new­ly elect­ed Pres­i­dent of the British Nation­al Union of Stu­dents (NUS), is fac­ing intense crit­i­cism after it was revealed she had dis­sem­i­nat­ed sev­er­al anti-Semit­ic state­ments via social media. Accord­ing to the Dai­ly Mail arti­cle:

March 31, 2022 A new­ly-elect­ed NUS chief has apol­o­gised after receiv­ing a fierce back­lash over ‘Anti-semit­ic’ social media posts that includ­ed an ancient Islam­ic bat­tle cry in ref­er­ence to a mas­sacre of Jews. Shaima Dal­lali was vot­ed pres­i­dent-elect of the NUS on Mon­day, but Jew­ish stu­dents have raised con­cerns after his­toric tweets emerged ref­er­enc­ing the mas­sacre of Jews in the 628 Bat­tle of Khay­bar. In 2012, she wrote: ‘Khay­bar Khay­bar O Jews … Muhammad’s army will return #Gaza.’

Read the rest here.

The Dai­ly Mail arti­cle also says that dur­ing Ramadan 2020, Dal­lali helped raise funds for CAGE, a con­tro­ver­sial British Islam­ic advo­ca­cy group tied to the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood (GMB) and whose senior lead­ers have advo­cat­ed sup­port­ing vio­lent jihad over­seas. Anoth­er arti­cle cit­ed by the Dai­ly Mail accused Dal­lali of label­ing a Jor­dan­ian cler­ic crit­i­cal of Hamas a “dirty Zion­ist” and pen­ning an arti­cle that called GMB spir­i­tu­al leader Youssef Qaradawi the “moral com­pass for the Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty at large.” The same piece also alleged Dal­lali post­ed a video of anti-Israel pro­test­ers call­ing for an intifa­da. Accord­ing to yet anoth­er arti­cle on the con­tro­ver­sy, in 2018, Dal­lali also wrote a post that appeared to show sym­pa­thy towards Hamas:

Your spe­cial forces invade the Gaza Strip, attempt to kid­nap a Hamas com­man­der, kill him and oth­ers. Then cry about Hamas being the ter­ror­ists. Makes per­fect sense.

Dal­lali has apol­o­gized for her „wrong” and “unac­cept­able” tweet, which has since been delet­ed, point­ing to her young age at the time of its pub­li­ca­tion. How­ev­er, in a seem­ing­ly con­tra­dic­to­ry state­ment, Dal­lali also sug­gest­ed she had become a vic­tim of “gen­dered Islam­o­pho­bia,” adding that “the pre-emp­tive scruti­ny” of Mus­lim women was symp­to­matic of that phenomenon.

Dallali’s post­ing his­to­ry has prompt­ed an NUS spokesper­son to issue a state­ment say­ing they were aware of the alle­ga­tions and were review­ing mea­sures to “improve rela­tions” with Jew­ish stu­dents. On 29 March 2021, Shaima (Shi­ma) Dal­lali was elect­ed as NUS Nation­al Pres­i­dent for a two-year term, which she is set to take up on 1 July 2022. Before, she served as City Pres­i­dent of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Lon­don Stu­dents’ Union.

An inves­ti­ga­tion by the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has found that Dal­lali has had addi­tion­al prob­lem­at­ic ties:

  • Between 2018 and 2019, Dal­lali served as Project Man­ag­er for the pro-Pales­tin­ian advo­ca­cy group Europal Forum, also referred to as the Euro­pean Pales­tin­ian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Forum, a group whose lead­ers have his­tor­i­cal­ly been close to the GMB and the Euro­pean Hamas sup­port infra­struc­ture. Upon her NUS elec­tion vic­to­ry, Europal Forum Chair­man and British pro-Hamas activist Zaher Birawi pub­lished a Face­book post con­grat­u­lat­ing Dallali.
  • Since July 2018, Dal­lali has also held var­i­ous lead­er­ship posi­tions in the Fed­er­a­tion of Stu­dent Islam­ic Soci­eties (FOSIS), a nation­al umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion rep­re­sent­ing Islam­ic soci­eties at uni­ver­si­ties through­out the UK, and that has numer­ous ties to the GMB net­work in the UK.
  • In 2016, Dal­lali, who is of Tunisian her­itage, received a polit­i­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion award from the Ennah­da Fre­un­deskreis in Deutsch­land, the offi­cial Ger­man rep­re­sen­ta­tive office of the Tunisian Ennha­da Par­ty, essen­tial­ly the GMB in that coun­try. Ennah­da is head­ed by Rachid Ghan­nouchi, who can best be described as an inde­pen­dent Islamist pow­er cen­ter and strong­ly tied to the GMB.

Shaima Dallali’s father, Jamal Dal­lali, cur­rent­ly man­ages the Pro­duc­tion Depart­ment of the Doc­u­men­tary Chan­nel of Qatari state-owned media and broad­cast­ing giant Al Jazeera, which his­tor­i­cal­ly has had a close rela­tion­ship with the GMB. Shaima Dallali’s hus­band, British-Iraqi activist Mustapha al-Dab­bagh, has act­ed as a spokesper­son for the Mus­lim Asso­ci­a­tion of Britain (MAB), the main orga­ni­za­tion of the GMB in the UK, and was also Head of Cam­paigns for the MAB Youth department.

For­mer UK Nation­al Union of Stu­dents Pres­i­dents include Malia Bouat­tia, who has sug­gest­ed that vio­lent “resis­tance” was the way for­ward in Pales­tine and, in 2021, was a pan­elist dur­ing an online event for a cam­paign ini­ti­at­ed by CAGE. Anoth­er for­mer NUS Pres­i­dent, Zamzam Ibrahim, was a pan­elist for the 2021 vir­tu­al “revival” con­fer­ence of the Inter­na­tion­al Islam­ic Fed­er­a­tion of Stu­dent Orga­ni­za­tions (IIFSO), the inter­na­tion­al youth/student orga­ni­za­tion of the GMB. Ibrahim cur­rent­ly serves as Vice Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Stu­dents Union, where the Forum of Euro­pean Mus­lim Youth and Stu­dent Organ­i­sa­tions (FEMYSO) is an asso­ciate mem­ber.