Written by Student Rights on 15 October 2014 at 9am

NUS ISIS vote highlights its warped priorities

First reported by a member of the National Union of Students National Executive Council (NUS NEC), news a motion of solidarity with the Iraqi people and condemnation of the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) had been defeated by NEC vote has been met with incredulity. 

The motion was voted down after Malia Bouattia, President of the NUS Black Students Campaign, argued it was Islamophobic and “pro USA intervention”, with fellow NEC member Aaron Kiely declaring her to be “challenging the Western, racist narrative around ‘ISIS’”.

In the face of significant criticism from students the NUS has now claimed a new motion will be submitted, with Bouattia writing that it will not "pander to Western imperialistic intervention or the demonisation of Muslim peoples" – something the original motion simply did not do.

Further evidence of the NUS' comprehensive failure to stand against extremism, this sorry episode demonstrates the organisation’s lack of credibility on these issues.

It is also suggests the NEC and Black Students Campaign, which condemned Student Rights in May 2014, see challenging campus extremism as more deserving of condemnation than ISIS’ campaign of rape, pillage, and murder.

Given that just two weeks ago Student Rights uncovered the Black Students Campaign lauding Azad Ali as an “inspiring example...of Black leadership” it is also clear this problem goes beyond one vote.

Ali has written that "Hamas is a true resistance movement...standing up for the rights of the Palestinians".

In 2010 he lost a libel case  over claims he had excused the killing of Coalition soldiers in Iraq; the judge concluding:

“...the claimant was indeed...taking the position that the killing of American and British troops in Iraq would be justified”. 

Meanwhile, the ‘Real Student Rights’ campaign, which the NUS allied itself with in May when it condemned Student Rights, also has a history of outreach to extremists including Hamza Tzortzis and Moazzam Begg.

Following the vote an NEC member wrote last week that "there is a stranglehold of “identity politics” on the student movement", with the idea "widespread that if a Liberation Officer opposes something, it must be bad".

When combined with the examples above, as well as the result of the vote, this should disabuse anyone of the notion that being condemned by the NUS now has any meaning at all.