Tag Archives: muslim doctors

Sorry, ‘legal’ Muslims aren’t safe… even if they’re doctors

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This one’s for my doctor family members/friends.

The topic of the Muslim ban has been a rollercoaster for American Muslims. The 9th circuit shot down its reinstatement after Trump saw them in court (heh), but there’s talk of it going higher up and people are concerned about being asked about social media passwords, more countries being added to the list, wedding shopping being put in jeopardy, CBP officers just being all around jerks (seriously, click on that link, you need to hear it). In my own neck of the woods, there were reports of people being harassed for proof of legal status in certain neighborhoods that were clearly racially targeted.

Regarding all of this, a relative of mine stated that those who haven’t done anything wrong have nothing to fear and that if the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is giving someone with a green card trouble, then there must be a reason.

It’s always so, so hard to see your loved ones forget where they came from.

The fact of the matter is that no, this country does not treat us all equally and with liberty and justice for all. No, working hard is not enough nor is it the monopoly of those who “came here legally.” (Why, this entire country was founded on “illegal immigration,” my dears.) Undocumented immigrants work just as hard as the rest of us, and often times, harder than many of us. That being said, doing things the legal way, the right way, following orders and keeping your head down is. not. a. guarantee. Especially when you are a person of color.

Just ask the hundreds of unarmed black people shot by police, the dozens taken down by a bullet in the back.

Just ask the 26 (confirmed) people wrongfully detained after September 11th when their only crime was being Arab/Muslim.

I’m not one to beat the “If you’re a doctor, you’re a paragon of citizenry and humanitarian good” narrative (sorry, Mom, you tried), but one must admit that most immigrants who come to this country and break their backs putting themselves through the physical, psychological, and financial torture that is residency tend to be good people. Whether or not there’s parental pressure involved, once you go through a few months of getting coughed on and yelled at and sticking your fingers in places you’d rather not stick them, you can’t help find yourself in it for the long haul. The men and women that go through the grueling process of immigrating here and then dedicate themselves to serving their new countrymen and saving their lives… well, those are the kind of the people who help make our country great (although, I guess we could blame them for keeping the Baby Boomers so healthy and able to destroy our economy and morale, but that’s another blog post). We’re all agreed on that, right? Right.

Well. Not all.

 

Are all immigrant doctors fantastic people? Nope. (Sorry, Mom, some of the people I’ve met in your social circles suuuuuck.) But they’re not going to waste their time going through medical school, taking the USMLEs, getting a visa/green card/spouse, going through immigration, going through the hell that is the match process… to plan a terrorist attack or spread Sharia law. (Although they won’t say no to a new halal joint close enough for them to grab a late night snack on call.) Speaking of that hell, the match process is like the Sorting Hat on Steroids Even Lance Armstrong Would Not Go Near. Cleveland Clinic, one of the best hospitals in the country, probably knows this woman’s childhood cat’s middle name and what her dad ate for breakfast (and how all of that will affect her ability to practice medicine). Basically, the fact that she’s even a doctor at Cleveland Clinic means she’s been vetted and she’s a good enough person to stick her fingers in patients at one of the toughest places to get a residency.

Unless her dad ate the plain Cheerios over the Honey Nut, she didn’t do anything to be forced out of the country except be a Muslim. And we’d do well to remember that.

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My mother’s first dance with bigotry as a doctor

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While indoctrinating my 10-year-old brother last night by reading him Goblet of Fire, I received a phone call from my shaken up mom, telling me something had just happened to her that she had never experienced in her 25 years of practice as a doctor.

A patient refused to see her because she’s Muslim.

Now, I’ve told plenty of people not to see my mother due to this reason. But this was often because they are also Muslim, and as a result, I know they won’t be as open with her about their habits regarding the fun stuff: drugs, sex, and alcohol. The patient in question, however, was not a Muslim nor afraid of my mother judging them for their love of getting shitfaced or stoned out of their mind. This person was simply a bigot.

Apparently, after my mother already spent time going over their charts and preparing to see them (which isn’t a minimal effort, mind you), the patient, upon meeting her, asked her about her ethnicity. After my mother replied that she is Pakistani, the patient asked her if she was Muslim. When my mother told her that she was, they told her “very respectfully” that she did not wish to be seen by a Muslim doctor.

First of all, it breaks my heart that my mother for some reason needed to tell me how respectful this person was being. Nothing about this was respectful. My mind worked quick as my mother talked. If a doctor refused to see a patient because of their religious or ethnic background, they would face severe consequences. But there isn’t any type of repercussion for a patient doing the same, other than potentially losing out on good treatment.

You can say that there will always be some awful people who act like this, but the fact that our politicians speak like this doesn’t help. Herman Cain was very vocal about not wanting to see a Muslim doctor or appointing a Muslim to his thankfully never-formed cabinet. Ben Carson has repeatedly expressed that Muslims are unfit for the presidency. I could go on. My point is that Islamophobia, Islamobigotry, anti-Muslim sentiment, whatever you want to call it (because I’ve actually heard people try to derail the conversation by saying they aren’t scared of Muslims, they just don’t like them) is on the rise. The fact that this happened to my mother just days after the attacks in Paris is not a coincidence.

It’s a sign. It’s a sign of frightening times for my Muslim brothers and sisters. So I ask you to be please be careful. The days ahead will be rough for all of us, and we need to stick together. Please reach out to each other, reach out to me, and don’t ever think you have to apologize for those who are not of us. The only thing you need to do is to keep spreading awareness of our own struggles, our own faith. May God be with us.