(CW: rape/death threats)
It has come to our attention that the NUS Black Students’ Officer, Malia Bouattia, is currently subject to an online hate campaign. This occurred after she spoke up against a motion in solidarity with the Kurdish people that condemned ISIS, when she made the point that the motion was worded in ways that advocated Western intervention and Islamophobic sentiments. At this juncture, it is also worth noting that Malia and several members of the NUS National Executive Council (NEC) that voted against the motion have stated that they will bring a motion in favour of Kurdish solidarity and that condemns ISIS to the next meeting of the NEC, that is worded in a way that allays their concerns. In light of the ongoing abuse that Malia is facing, including threats of death and rape, the committee of KCL Intersectional Feminist Society would like to issue a statement of solidarity with Malia.
This society, as an intersectional society, stands for solidarity with all oppressed peoples, including the Kurdish people, but equally against rhetoric that uses ISIS as a tool to further Islamophobic sentiments, and rhetoric that advocates imperialistic intervention. As an intersectional feminist society, we are appalled by and strongly condemn this online smear campaign that targets one Muslim woman of colour with rape and death threats for exercising her right to freedom of speech, instead of directly engaging with all the members of the National Executive Council (NEC) who democratically chose to vote against this motion. We believe that the campaign targeting Malia is not only sexist, but in this case also deeply Islamophobic and racist, and only makes it apparent that liberation groups that campaign against racism and sexism (particularly the NUS Black Students’ Campaign) are deeply necessary.
We understand that there is widespread anger about the perceived belief that the NUS is willing to condemn and boycott other organisations and states and refuses to do the same with ISIS. We ask that there is widespread acknowledgment that this is simply factually untrue: the NEC does oppose ISIS and stand in solidarity with the Kurdish people, and has declared to bring a motion that is written with the help of Kurdish students and the International Students’ Campaign to the next NEC meeting. To ignore that the NUS NEC has vowed to take action on the issue and express their solidarity in order to justify the abuse that Malia is facing is disgraceful. We also want to reiterate that the campaign of character assassination launched against Malia would be unacceptably racist and sexist even if this were not the case.
We call upon the members of our society to stand in her defence, and make it clear that this sort of racist and sexist abuse is absolutely unacceptable. We also ask for other student societies at King’s College London to follow our lead in asking their members to do the same, and demand that newly elected Student Councillors and our Sabbatical Officers write and pass a motion in her defence. Our full solidarity and support remains with Malia.
(You can also tweet under the hashtag #StopAttackingMalia to express your solidarity.)