Muslim advocacy group CAGE has said it rejects the assertion by National Union of Students President Megan Dunn that it is incompatible with NUS policies on anti-racism, anti-fascism and anti-semitism, and is pleased that she does not represent the majority campus opinion.
Earlier Dunn had emphatically ruled out working with CAGE, saying “I will not work with CAGE, the NUS will not be working with CAGE and there will be no NUS resources used to work with CAGE.”
Ms Dunn said she believed working with CAGE would not be compatible with the NUS’s policies on “anti-racism, anti-fascism and how we define anti-semitism”.
But a CAGE statement retorted: “This is not the first time that Ms Dunn has acted against her colleagues. In July, the NUS passed a motion against Ms Dunn for violating the union’s Israeli boycott by agreeing to a sponsorship deal with Coca-cola.
“By inferring that there is a link between CAGE and anti-semitism, Ms Dunn is generating precisely the same narrative she claims her organisation is striving to combat. The reckless charge of anti-semitism against a Muslim organisation reaffirms old stereotypes perpetuated by racist power structures and we challenge Ms Dunn to give evidence to attest to this.”
The NUS had been criticised by David Cameron for “allying” with CAGE which has argued counter-terror policy threatens “freedom of expression”.
But the NUS president said the NUS was still strongly committed to opposing the government’s approach to tackling extremism on campus – but any campaign would have no connection with CAGE.
The prime minister’s comments followed a motion passed by the NUS annual conference in April which had agreed to campaign against the government’s counter-extremism Prevent strategy alongside CAGE.
However. the NUS president is now making it clear this will not happen.
Ibrahim Mohamoud, Communications Officer of CAGE, said: “We support the NUS’s opposition to Prevent, but we disagree strongly with Megan Dunn’s assertions about CAGE. Islamophobia is the new racism and buying into this narrative is simply unacceptable.
“We are disappointed by the NUS President’s political posturing and opposition to majority opinion. Dunn’s manifesto pledge to ‘put our national movement back in the hands of students and their unions’ seems irrelevant now she is acting against her own promises…
“CAGE will continue to work with full time officers at NUS to uphold the resolves passed by its membership to oppose Prevent collectively. Despite the comments by its President to cut off ties with CAGE, which demonstrate a concern with government, rather than her own membership.”