Birmingham University apologises to Muslim students

Birmingham University dons apologised to the Muslim students who were elected to the students union but prevented from taking office. The 1990 Trust were among those supporting the campaign.

The majority of students voted into leadership positions in 2004 were victims of religious discrimination after the university annulled the vote. All 14 Muslims students were accused of benefiting from election fraud, allegations the university now admit were untrue.

The university made the apology as part of a legal settlement. The higher education institution accepted that there had been no slating or intimidation ahead of the vote.

Ironically NUS university elections have a reputation for slates, including hard-left Socialist Action, Young Labour and various other groupings. The Birmingham case is the first time that a whole election has been scrapped as a result of such allegations.

The Birmingham university Registrar, Dr Jonathan Nicholls, scrapped the 2004 vote without asking the Muslim students to respond to the allegations against them.

It is understood no evidence was produced to substantial allegations of election fraud, and claims published on a student politics website called ‘Run Down’ included falsehoods which caused damage to personal reputations.

The university and the Guild of Students issued a joint apology admitting various failings during the election including discourteousy. It concluded: “The University and the Guild confirm that no candidate… was personally implicated in any electoral misconduct, particularly voter intimidation, slating and ballot fraud.”

The statement brings to an end a two-year legal campaign and effectively proves an anti-Muslim conspiracy to deny Muslims their rightful place on the NUS university executive even though they were properly elected.

The campaign had been supported by the NUS Anti-Racism Officer, Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS),Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), Operation Black Vote (OBV) and The 1990 Trust.

BLINK news report, 24 October 2006