In-coming National Union of Students president Shaima Dallali has suggested she is a victim of “gendered Islamophobia” following scrutiny of her past views, including a succession of inflammatory social posts related to the Jewish community.
Hitting back at her critics, who have included the Union of Jewish Students, Dallali told The Tab newspaper “the pre-emptive scrutiny of Muslim women is symptomatic of the nature of gendered Islamophobia.
“Individuals and groups will go out of their way to seek to criminalise Muslim women in leadership, without acceptance for any space for growth and change.”
The former president of City University’s student union added: “The reality is that we can all introspect and reflect on our viewpoints.
“This is not just something we apply to Muslim women, which points to the importance of one of my priorities as President: decolonisation.
“I want to be able to understand history, political structures and figures in history and today who have been idolised to the point where they are exempt from scrutiny and accountability.”
Dallali issued her statement to student paper The Tab this week after they outlined controversial posts and articles she had written, including one in which she referred to Muslim cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi as “the moral compass for the Muslim community at large.”
Discussing The Holocaust, al Qaradawi had said: “Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption … The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them.”
On gay people, the cleric said: “Some say we should throw them from a high place, like God did with the people of Sodom. Some say we should burn them, and so on. There is disagreement.”
The Tab also noted how in 2012, Dallali had tweeted: “Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud.”
The chant which refers to a massacre of Jews at the town of Khaybar in north western Arabia in the year 628 and it translates to: “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning.”
She had “reservedly apologised” for the tweet last week.
The UJS had claimed Dallali had “attacked the Jewish community, UJS, and supported speakers with extremely challenging views.”
And they called on her to “join us in rebuilding those bridges to ensure that NUS becomes a space Jewish students once more feel welcomed into, rather than side-lined and excluded.”
Responding, Dallali, who takes up her post in July, said: “My hands are outstretched to all students that work in our movement, including Jewish students, and I have already expressed my willingness to arrange a meeting once I take office.”
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