Zamzam Ibrahim: Newly elected NUS president vows to fight racism and rising student fees

The winner calls for a National Student Strike to demand 'free education'

Zamzam Ibrahim has been elected as the new president of the National Union of Students
Zamzam Ibrahim has been elected as the new president of the National Union of Students

Zamzam Ibrahim has been elected as the National Union of Students (NUS) president for 2019.

Ms Ibrahim wants to tackle racism on campus and “extortionate” tuition fees during her presidency.

The former president of the Salford University students’ union, who pledged to lead a National Student Strike, was chosen from a list of five candidates at the NUS conference in Glasgow.

The proposed strike would call for free education, a better Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and a reintroduction of a post-study work visa for international students, her manifesto says.

Ms Ibrahim will become the union’s third female Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic president in a row.

In 2017, Ms Ibrahim, the child of Somali refugees, spoke out against the press for portraying her as a “fanatical Muslim and a threat to British society” on the basis of teenage tweets.

She previously told The Independent: “It feels like the aim of this sort of article is to make politically active Muslims feel unwelcome in the public sphere. And it’s working.

“For 48 hours, I have had to sift through comments of hate, rape and death threats and attempts to intimidate me out of the public discourse. But I won’t be silenced.”

In her election manifesto for NUS president, Ms Ibrahim pledged to fight a series of liberation campaigns.

She wrote: “There has been a massive rise in racism, xenophobia, sexism on our campuses and an alarming increase in deportations.

“Our government is responsible for much of this hate. With the hostile environment and far-right rhetoric from MPs, we must campaign for a fairer world – on and off campuses.”

Ms Ibrahim will take over from Shakira Martin who recently told her critics to “f*** off” in a Facebook post after facing motions of no confidence to remove her from the role.

Hundreds of students, elected officers and campaigners from higher and further education are spending this week in Glasgow for the NUS conference.

On Tuesday, delegates voted in favour of training on combating Islamophobia and antisemitism among NUS elected officers.

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It comes after Malia Bouattia, who became the NUS’ first Muslim female president in 2016, faced criticism and a parliament-led investigation after she was accused of antisemitism.

Daniel Kosky, campaigns organiser of the Union of Jewish Students said:"We look forward to delivering anti-Semitism training for NUS NEC.

“There is still a long way to go to ensure that NUS is fit for Jewish students, and we hope to continue our collaborative work long into the future."

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