A Message From The East: Muslim medical students victims of hostility, racism in Florida

Here we go again. A new incident of discrimination against American Muslims took place in Florida last Friday. Three Muslim medical students were stopped after a restaurant patron said she heard them making "alarming" comments about the Sept. 11 attacks and about a possible future terrorist attack.

That woman claims she heard one of the men ask, "Do you think we have enough to bring it down?" Another one of the men replied, "If we don't have enough to bring it down, I have contacts and we can get enough to bring it down." Because she is too smart she thought they are planning to blow up something. Wow!

The unasked questions are: How do we make sure that woman told the truth? On what basis can one person make any statement that would lead to the arrest of innocent people? What if she fabricated a long story out of nothing - especially considering that the three guys insisted they were only discussing their trip to Miami.

The three men, who attend Ross University, didn't know there were more surprises waiting for them after they were released without charge. They lost a nine-week internship at Larkin Community Hospital. The president requested the students transfer somewhere else after receiving numerous threats after the incident.

The hospital has received an overwhelming amount of threatening and racial e-mails and phone calls directed at Muslim-Americans that commented on the students' ability to be physicians. These ranged from warnings of protesting in front of the hospital to threats of harming the students.

All these concerns have done is destroy the lives and the livelihoods of hard-working young people whose only wish is to complete their medical education. Such concerns are mere suspicions based only on prejudice, stereotyping and narrow-mindedness.

Such uncivilized allegations are the main cause that triggered this kind of crazy reaction and hostile response against the Muslim community in the United States.

On one hand, journalists, writers and participants in radio and television shows expressed multiple feelings of hatred against all Muslims.

On the other hand, incidents of civil rights violations have increased after Sept. 11 attacks. Many Muslims across the nation have been subjected to different kinds of discrimination because of their religion and ethnic background.

The insistence on pushing this distorted image that Islam is a faith that urges its followers to kill and destroy serves nobody. On the contrary, it causes harm to all of us because it increases the fragmentation of society and adds more stress to our lives.

In this critical period of time we are in need of more integrity and solidarity to overcome the consequences of last year's events. Society is not in need of more hateful feelings and crimes.

This is a call to resist all forms of animosity and to fight all aspects of hostility.

Write to Fahad at fahad765@yahoo.com


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