The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) condemns the recent motion passed by the NUS-NEC demanding for the withdrawal of respected Muslim academic and intellectual, Professor Tariq Ramadan from the forthcoming European Social Forum. It is sad to note that once again the NUS has not only failed the 90,000 Muslim students it claims to represent but also offended them by taking such an action without consulting any Muslim organisation.
In the motion which states that Prof. Ramadan is in favour of ‘the denial of basic human rights for women’ the NUS-NEC makes no hesitation in also branding Islamic Law (Shariah) as oppressive to women and inhumane. It is of deep concern that out of the twenty two present only four voted against while another three abstained. A source in attendance at this meeting claimed that ‘most of these people haven’t even heard of Prof. Ramadan before but were voting for ulterior motives’.
The motion which was pushed by the Islamophobic Alliance of Workers Liberty (AWL) and supported by both UJS and Labour Students is a further sign that many factions within the NUS are not interested in British students’ issues as much as they are in supporting their own Islamophobic agenda. ‘If anyone of these people was to read one chapter of Ramadan’s ‘To Be a European Muslim’ they would see that any of the accusations levelled against him are not only false but ludicrous’, stated Jamal El-shayyal FOSIS executive member; ‘particularly seeing as he has recently been promoted by the Foreign Office as a major voice for integration and positive participation in Western Societies’.
FOSIS intends to campaign for the overruling of this motion at the soonest possible opportunity. However as this will not be before the ESF, FOSIS demands that Kat Fletcher the NUS President make clear her stance on this issue. Furthermore that the NUS-NEC gives Muslim students firm assurance that they will be consulted from now on with regards to issues of their religion and faith. We demand a formal apology from the NEC for the outrageous accusation that Islamic Law is against human rights.
NB: For further information visit http://www.fosis.org.uk
‘The voice of Muslim students since 1962’
Amendment to ESF Campaign - NEC/NUS Motion
1 One of the ESF's key note speakers will be Tariq Ramadan an 'Islamic scholar' and grandson of Hassan al-Banna (founder of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood). Tariq Ramadan:
* Defends the application of sharia law in majority- Muslim areas, in which women, LGBT people and those who wish to convert from Islam are denied basic human rights.
* Defends conjugal violence as 'a last resort'
2 That as a sponsor of the ESF, NUS has a responsibility to raise its voice in defence of progressive values and therefore against Tariq Ramadan speaking.
* To continue to support the ESF, but mandate the President to write to the organisers asking them to withdraw Tariq Ramadan's invitation to speak and produce a press release explaining our position, and reproduce this on our website.
* To join with the Middle East Centre for Women's rights, Women Against Fundamentalism and Outrage in producing a leaflet opposing both Islamophobia and Islamism for distribution at the ESF.