Academic Apartheid By the Back Door
March 6, 2007 § 8 Comments
The Lancet | Education & Society | 10 February 2007-16 February 2007
By Izhar Khan
Ward 25/26, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK
There is increasing anecdotal evidence that UK researchers with Muslim-sounding names are being denied the opportunity to present their work in the USA. One of our clinical research fellows, who I help supervise, recently had a paper accepted by the American Society of Nephrology as a poster presentation at its annual meeting in Philadelphia, PA. The research fellow applied to the US embassy in London for a visa in September, 2006, with a letter of endorsement from his supervisor. He was interviewed and informed by the US embassy that because of his name his documents would have to be sent to Washington, and he was given verbal reassurance that a decision would be made before the meeting in November.
The research fellow was encouraged by this and booked a flight to the USA. However, he was not issued a visa despite repeated requests to the embassy by him and by his supervisor. To date his visa application has not been approved. The individual feels insulted and humiliated by the way he has been treated by the US embassy in London.
This was not an isolated incidence. Two other Muslim researchers from the University of Aberdeen have not been issued with visas for entry to the USA and prevented from presenting their work at international conferences. The scientific community must take serious note of this.
Khan, Izhar. The USA should allow the free exchange of scientific ideas. “The Lancet”. 10 February 2007. Volume 369. Issue 9560. 438.