Bouat­tia hon­oured for be­ing a Good Cit­i­zen

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY KEREN DAVID

MALIA BOUAT­TIA, the con­tro­ver­sial leader of the Na­tional Union of Stu­dents, has been hon­oured by the Mus­lim com­mu­nity at its flag­ship awards cer­e­mony.

Ms Bouat­tia was recog­nised with a prize for Good Cit­i­zen­ship at the Mus­lim News Awards for Ex­cel­lence.

The ci­ta­tion said she had “cam­paigned tire­lessly for equal rights and the un­der­priv­i­leged” as well as op­pos­ing the gov­ern­ment’s Pre­vent strat­egy and work­ing on the Why Is My Cur­ricu­lum White cam­paign.

“Malia has taken on these tasks al­though she has her­self been vil­i­fied in the me­dia for tak­ing up prin­ci­pled po­si­tions,” the ci­ta­tion said.

Ms Bouat­tia, who was elected pres­i­dent of the NUS last April, had pro­voked anger in the Jewish com­mu­nity over her ref­er­ence to “Zion­is­tled me­dia out­lets” and her de­scrip­tion of the Univer­sity of Birm­ing­ham as a “Zion­ist out­post”.

A NUS in­quiry found that she had made com­ments that

“could be rea­son­ably

Malia Bout­tia ca­pa­ble of be­ing in­ter­preted as an­tisemitic”. She told the JC in Jan­uary that she would not use such language again, adding: “I’m al­ways learn­ing.” Ac­cept­ing her award she urged young Mus­lims to “take part and take ac­tion”. The awards were judged by a five-mem­ber panel, chaired by Rabbi Janet Dar­ley, for­merly min­is­ter of South Lon­don Lib­eral Sy­n­a­gogue. She said that the de­ci­sion to honour Ms Bouat­tia had been a ma­jor­ity de­ci­sion, and she recog­nised that some peo­ple would be up­set.

“The judges who voted for her wanted to honour a Mus­lim wo­man of colour in a lead­er­ship role,” she said.

One of the short­listed can­di­dates beaten by Ms Bouat­tia, Mo­hammed Zafran, who set up a char­ity to honour the me­mory of his mur­dered broth­erin-law, was given the judges’ spe­cial award picked from all the nom­i­nees in all cat­e­gories.

The awards cer­e­mony em­pha­sised the con­tri­bu­tion made by Mus­lims to Bri­tish so­ci­ety, with many of speak­ers and win­ners speak­ing out against ter­ror­ism and ex­trem­ism. A minute’s si­lence was held to honour the vic­tims of the West­min­ster at­tack.

The guest of honour, Sa­jid Javid, Sec­re­tary of State for Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, spoke of ex­plain­ing to his daugh­ters why the ter­ror­ists who tar­geted Paris called them­selves Mus­lims “when they had no right to do so…you can­not be a Mus­lim and a mur­derer”.

He added: “We are the chil­dren and grand­chil­dren of im­mi­grants. They didn’t give up their iden­ti­ties. They recog­nised that the val­ues they hold dear aren’t just Mus­lim val­ues, they are Bri­tish val­ues.”


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