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 7, 2015 edition of the Medical Post.
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. Avicenna (980-1037) was known as the father of modern medicine. Mansur ibn Ilyas was a Persian physician born in the late 14th century and created the first coloured atlas of the human body.
If you want a modern day example, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor is a 42-year-old Malaysian orthopedic surgeon, space researcher, and astronaut. If you do not think he fits the article's headline, "Physicians Famous for their Religious Leanings," then you should watch the YouTube video of him praying in space.
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.
The framing of the article perpetuates stereotypes of Muslims as terrorists. The article is ultimately disrespectful and hurtful to Muslim physicians.
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
Update: Since Amina first published this post on her Facebook page and Twitter, the Medical Post has apologized publicly.