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.’
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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.