RI: Religious Insensitivity Greets Muslim in Interview


Echoing allegations she made in a letter that has circulated via e-mail around campus in recent weeks, Qadira Abdul-Ali '06 told The Herald Monday that she was asked inappropriate questions about her Muslim faith when interviewing for admission at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, including whether she had been "radicalized."

A letter of complaint Abdul-Ali sent by e-mail earlier this month to Allen Spiegel, the top dean at Einstein, a Bronx, N.Y., medical school associated with Yeshiva University, was sent to the Brown Muslim Students' Association e-mail list.

According to Abdul-Ali, her interviewer, Milton Gumbs, a dean at Einstein, interspersed questions and comments about her Muslim faith throughout the interview that revealed "insensitivity and overt ignorance." In the letter she wrote to Spiegel, she said she had been subjected to "more than thirty-minutes of offensive and biting commentary on Islam."

"This is the last thing you expect to come up against," Abdul-Ali said Monday.

The first such comment from Gumbs, Abdul-Ali said, came after a discussion of her time abroad in Cairo, when the interviewer asked her if she had "become radicalized" as a result of the experience.

"I was like, 'Excuse me?' " Abdul-Ali told The Herald.

Feeling that she should maintain her composure, she said, she was prepared to overlook the comment. "I was going to give him the benefit of the doubt," she said.

But that was not the last of the off-color commentary, Abdul-Ali said, and Gumbs "began throwing out a number of other inapt comments."

In her letter, Abdul-Ali describes other statements made by Gumbs during the interview.

Of Ramadan, the monthlong holiday during which observant Muslims fast during the day, Abdul-Ali wrote that Gumbs said, "You Muslims are a bunch of hypocrites," because those observing the fast customarily break their fast at sundown and eat a light meal before sunrise.

According to Abdul-Ali's letter, Gumbs added, "That's easy. I do that sometimes myself. I drink coffee in the morning and nothing else until three or four in the afternoon." (MORE)

 


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