The NUS should not work with CAGE

The NUS has an outstanding history of pursuing racial and gender equality within university campuses. So why is it working with CAGE?


“Female genital mutilation is not only acceptable but obligatory…Non-Muslim prisoners can be taken as slaves.”

When CAGE’s Asim Qureshi was asked by Andrew Neil of the BBC if he agreed with these views, Asim leaned forward and responded: “Look, I’m not a theologian.”

The façade began to drop. Asim Qureshi had devoted his life to staunchly opposing the human rights abuses of torture and drone strikes – therefore it seemed like some areas of human rights, such as the stoning of women, were just a no-go-zone for his (and CAGE’s) disapproval. Asim Qureshi’s ability to side-step these questions, fooling the public about his and CAGE’s extremist beliefs, began to lose its pace, and the world came to see them for what they are – terrorist apologists.

Enter the NUS. The NUS, unlike our government and Amnesty International, has seen CAGE and Asim Qureshi’s public appearances and yet still thinks CAGE an acceptable partner to work with on civil liberty issues. What we are seeing here is an attempt by CAGE to gain further influence around the universities and Students Union.

The real question is why the NUS would choose to work with CAGE.

It has been made apparent on social media that the NUS motion to work with CAGE was passed at NUS conference without any formal voting procedure. I am sure that many students in Britain will be just as shocked as I am to learn that the NUS has teamed with an organisation that has refused to condemn the ISIL beheadings. I would also hope that the NUS will investigate internally the voting procedure of this notion to partner with CAGE.

The NUS has an outstanding history of pursuing racial and gender equality within university campuses, but all of this risks being called into question by working with CAGE. Although tied to CAGE with the common thread of an anti-PREVENT narrative, I have to ask: is it really worth working with an organisation that would like to undo all the work progressed by the NUS for gender equality? Are CAGE the only organisation you can work with on this particular issue? Is the bar really that depressingly low?

If you have doubts over the tones of this piece, or feel it is exaggerated, I urge you who seek to protect the rights of women and the plurality of religious beliefs on campus/society to: listen to the speeches of CAGE-linked cleric Haitham al-Haddad; to watch the public appearances of CAGE figurehead Asim Qureshi.

At Quilliam we have made it our policy to not share a policy-making platform with CAGE. The only platform we share is for debate, which can’t happen if a simple question such as ‘do you believe the Jews are descended from pigs’ seems to throw their representatives into a mental lock-down.

The NUS must break its ties with an organisation that makes abhorrent statements about human rights and which is linked to extremist clerics that do so. The NUS shouldn’t feel that it is only extremist organisations that share their concerns about civil liberties with regards to counter-terrorism. And the NUS must not wait until the damage is done to its reputation before it distances itself from CAGE.

Haras Rafiq is managing director at Quilliam. Follow him on Twitter

27 Responses to “The NUS should not work with CAGE”

  1. Jugurtha

    The NUS has been joke for years. Are you remotely surprised? I’d have thought the fact that they find common cause with clerical fascists the most natural thing in the world.

    “And the NUS must not wait until the damage is done to its reputation before it…”

    Not sure what you’re saying here. You suggesting the NUS has found a way to time travel?

  2. Selohesra

    Why do students even need a union? Perhaps they should strike in favour of fewer lectures

  3. TN

    This is the same organisation which voted against supporting the Kurds fighting ISIS (a motion frmo a Kurdish student) for fear of “Islamophobia”. The NUS represents only one mentality and it’s clear what that is.

  4. Guest

    Ah yes, get rid of another union, etc.
    They’re unlike to support you though.

  5. Leon Wolfeson

    …Confused student politics.

    You’ll of course see conspiracies.

  6. Tommo

    Islamophobia = a term of abuse used by supporters of islamofascism.

  7. Mark

    While I agree with everything that has been said here, I have a problem in forwarding it on.
    The reason is that a pic of Nigel Farage having a beer, is the attached photo, and has nothing to do with it.
    For instance, if I either copy the link (and paste to Facebook), or click on the “Facebook” thing to send it there, it shows Farage having a pint. All well and good, but nothing to do with the article at all.

  8. TN

    OK Guest/Leon enough is enough! EVERY single bloody thread you reply shouting the odds at everyone’s posts, displaying your conspiracy theories starting with “ah/oh yes…” at the start of most of them. You project and project and find fault with every detail. Please seek help and leave stop harassing us all!!!

  9. Guest

    Silence, you scream, “UR MAD JEW”

    I keep talking that truth which you can’t stand, as you magic up your conspiracy theories.
    No, Lord Blagger, as as long as you posting using so many of your accounts here, I’ll keep showing you dish it out but can’t take it.

    Your far right, totaltiarian, social darwinist chanting that disagreement with you is mental illness… why,
    you’re a censor, frightened your views will be discussed. Every time, as you post in every thread with several of your accounts.

  10. Guest

    You used, it, Islamofascist, your logic. Right.

    Thanks for being open about your views.

  11. damon

    ”The NUS has an outstanding history of pursuing racial and gender equality within university campuses”

    That was a bit of a bad start to the OP article, but apart from that, I agree that no one should be doing anything with Cage.

  12. Leon Wolfeson

    Facts are a bad start. Right.

  13. TN

    Thanks for proving my point.

    Notice how I didn’t even say your first accusation. Please don’t insult my intelligence or claim that you’re trying to “interpret” my posts as meaning that.

    You’re an unpleasant troll with a bad temper.

  14. Gerschwin

    ‘unlikley’ Leon, not ‘unlike’, you’re an imbecile I know but at least get basics right.

  15. Gerschwin

    NUS = tinsel town wank. Always has.

  16. Gerschwin

    He’s not suggesting a conspiracy Leon, you are. You’re a very funny little boy. Have you been ‘working out’ your technique in the build up to Wimbledon? Not long now Leon and you can work that tennis elbow (kno’wha’Imean? Oh yes you do) watching all those fruity young’uns you love so much in their short skirts. Phoar! Watch out girls, here comes Leon and he’s got an eye for the young ones…you saucy little minx Leon!

  17. JohnRich

    Yet again a so-called ‘progressive’ left-wing organisation supports a religion that promotes homophobic, misogynous, anti-democratic and violently illiberal values.

  18. Guest


    Thanks for that, LB.

  19. Guest

    Yes yes, LB/TN/Gershwin, keep demanding you mind control me , as you call Jews “funny” and spout off nonsense again, assigning your views to me.

    It’s you and your personalities.

  20. Guest

    “UR ME”

    As you claim that I “prove” all Jews are mad, as you spout off anti-Semitism again. I’d have to work VERY hard to insult your intelligence, and I haven’t, as you demand I be you, LB.

    You’re demanding your censorship, no more.

  21. Guest

    Your business isn’t left wing, but thanks for talking about it and it’s values.

  22. Haydoori 'Sheikh' Dar

    On Facebook you should be able to toggle through or remove the thumbnail picture. I agree with you though.

  23. BrS

    NUS already supports kangaroo courts for men accused of rape. They support censorship. They’re opposed to personal freedom.

  24. BrS

    Well NUS are anti-democratic, illiberal misogynists.

  25. Guest

    Where’s your proof they follow you?

  26. BrS

    If only they would convert to being pro-democracy, liberal and pro-equality.

  27. Lucas

    The NUS is rotten to the core

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