BEMA stands with Malia Bouattia
BEMA condemn, unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms, the campaign of racist, sexist and Islamophobic abuse directed towards Malia Bouattia; the NUS Black Students’ Officer.
During the past few days she has been targeted for her principled opposition against Islamophobia during a recent meeting of the NUS National Executive Council and smeared in the national media as well as by members of the EDL.
Malia’s unwavering commitment and dedication to BME liberation is recognised by students across the UK and the role she has played in building and supporting us as BEMA cannot possibly be overstated. Her leadership of the Black Students’ Campaign exemplifies everything we aim and stand for as a liberation group. The abuse she has received in return for this illustrates precisely the importance of what she, the Campaign and we as BEMA have and always will stand for: the complete abolition of racism in all its forms, and the absolute self-determination and liberation of BME people, without compromise.
At this time we reiterate the importance of unity among BME people, against the divisive tactics of those threatened by the prospect of BME people organising ourselves independently.
The fact that the actions of a BME Muslim woman standing against Islamophobia and in defence of the students she represents has led to death and rape threats on social media, and Islamophobic lies perpetuated by mainstream press, makes clear that the real threat posed by such deeply embedded racism and sexism remains ever-present in society and needs to be challenged vigorously.
And the fact that the calculated and politically-motivated attacks by a Left-wing group against the Black Students’ Officer fall during Black History Month of all times – almost 4 weeks removed from the NUS debate concerned – shows, if there was any need for it to be re-affirmed, that ultimately we BME people alone must direct the fight against racism and that we can never afford to have our struggle deferred to or co-opted by any political shade or agenda.
We call upon NUS Officers to stand robustly in defence of Malia against the false accusations levelled against her, and for student officers and BME groups to write in support of her, through whatever medium they may have access to.
We demand acknowledgment of the fact that any insinuation that Malia’s actions were in support of ISIS or in opposition to the Kurdish people is false and defamatory, and that white men dismissing legitimate concerns about Islamophobia as merely due to ‘Stalinist politics’ is action born of the deepest patriarchal racism.
We demand that NUS National Executive Councillor Daniel Cooper is held responsible for his part in engineering this campaign – and given that we are not bound by any party allegiance, and unburdened by sentiment towards any political grouping, BEMA will ensure that those responsible are held fully to account, by any means deemed necessary.
See Malia’s statement here