Apr 27 2015
Muslim accuses article in the ‘Medical Post’ of being “racist” because it says the current leader of al-Qaeda, Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, is a MUSLIM doctor
Dear Editors of the Medical Post and its publisher, Rogers Digital Media: “I am deeply disappointed at the ‘racism’ embedded within ‘Physicians Famous for their Religious Leanings,’ the article published in the April 7th edition of Medical Post.”
fb.me/7ddJdpeGs The article discusses the professional work of specific physicians in the context of their faith. The article recognizes Pope John XXI who was a practicing physician and teacher. Dr. Schwitzer was an author of a biography on Sebastian Bach and a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1952. Dr. Damadian was credited with contributions that led to the invention of the MRI.
The article also recognizes Ayman Al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda leader and an architect of the 9/11 attacks, as a Muslim physician noted for his faith.
Among those named in the article, three of four physicians are of various Christian faiths. Each of those three are noted for their contributions to humanity. Al-Zawahiri is the only one on the list who one who is identified as Muslim and is an undeniable criminal.
Accomplished Muslims physicians, past or present, are not difficult to identify. A Google search for “famous Muslim physicians” leads to long lists of them.
Al-Zawahiri’s politics, tactics, or religious beliefs are not representative of Muslim physicians. By citing Al-Zawahiri and comparing him to positive, non-Muslim examples, the Medical Post implicitly suggests that there is something inherently wrong with being Muslim and providing medical care. (There IS, and nobody in the West who knows anything about Islam and values life would ever allow him/herself to be treated by a Muslim doctor)
The framing of the article perpetuates stereotypes of Muslims as terrorists. The Islamophobic article is ultimately disrespectful and hurtful to Muslim physicians. (Oh, Boo Hoo, who cares?)
I request that Medical Post and Rogers Digital Media publicly withdraw the article and publish an apology that will be available both in the digital and print versions of the Medical Post. I expect that the Medical Post and Rogers Digital Media will take this opportunity to internally reflect about their values and publicly outline how the incident will change their internal processes.
Dr. Amina Jabbar BSW, MSc, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Toronto