First and foremost, on behalf of the National Arab American Medical Association-Michigan Board of Directors I would like to extend our sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of our fellow Americans who lost their lives as well as a speedy recovery to our brothers and sisters injured in the recent Boston Marathon bombings. Although I would rather go into great detail about the activities NAAMA-MI conducted in the month of April including a well attended CME event in partnership with the Syrian American Medical Society-Michigan Chapter, an informative presentation by none other than the godfather of healthcare law Mr. Andrew Wachler, a social mixer for our students and residents, the forging of a partnership with Kaplan Medical, etc… I feel obligated to discuss something that I am sure most Arab and Muslim Americans living in the United States felt on the day of the Boston bombings. I am going to do my best to navigate through this topic without politicizing it or making any religious connotations given our status as a nonpolitical and nonreligious organization. It is a well-known fact that we live in different times. I use the word “Different” intentionally because as unfair and absurd as some people’s remarks can be towards Arab and Muslim Americans these days, they pale in comparison to the vitriol and actions that have been taken against other races, ethnic, and religious groups that have lived in the United States. As a matter of fact, one can argue that as an Arab or Muslim American you are likely to encounter similar, if not more prejudice in the Arab and Muslim world if you happen to be of the “Wrong Religion, Sect or Nationality” in that particular country. The moral of the story is that although the environment we live in today is not ideal, it could always be worse. Having said that, this is not a time to look the other way rather this is the moment in history that Arab and Muslim Americans need to unite and face the voices of bigotry. There are those that wish to define us in their own ways and for their own specific agendas, however the majority of our fellow citizens of this great nation who know us, work with us, live by us, and celebrate and grieve with us know how much we love our country. We need not fear the voices of hate and blame, because if anything our collective history has taught us is that the American people will always stand on the side of fairness and justice for all.
Sam Fawaz, M.D.