Prejudicial remarks not surprising, but unacceptable

Dear editor,

I wish I could say I was surprised to read remarks like Rebecca Feldman Secia's response to Fahad Al-Qurashi's column, but such prejudice seems almost licensed today. Ms. Secia misses the point that these young men are American citizens.

It is against federal law and Florida state law to discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or nation of origin. That Miami hospital can claim that it's basing its decision on the safety of its patients and staff, but they'd be hard put to defend that decision in federal court. There are other ways to handle questions of safety.

However you want to describe the conditions surrounding this incident, prejudice is an important part of them. Right now being of Middle Eastern descent means being discriminated against, and it is precisely under conditions like these that our constitutional protections become most critical.

If Ms. Secia had been living in the late '50s, would she, in the midst of civil rights protests, have advised African Americans to study at the University of Nairobi rather than at the University of Mississippi? Why should American citizens not be allowed to study wherever their academic qualifications allow them to, and where they have already gained admission?

Herbert Stahlke

Professor of English


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