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New York University journalism department quits UAE over 'sectarian' discrimination

The department announced its decision in a letter to the president of NYUAD [NYU Local]

Date of publication: 4 November, 2017

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Members of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute voted to cease its working relationship with NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) to protest what two colleagues describe as religious discrimination.

New York University's journalism department have cut ties with Abu Dhabi to protest against the UAE's rejection the work visa applications of two colleagues, who have complained of religious dsicrimination.

Members of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute voted to cease its working relationship with NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) after authorities declined security clearance to journalism professor Mohamad Bazzi and politics professor Arang Keshavarzian, despite both colleagues being invited work at the institute.

"We have the utmost respect for our faculty colleagues and students at NYU Abu Dhabi, and the work they have done over the past decade in building a world-class liberal arts campus," a letter delivered to NYU President Andrew Hamilton read. 

"But, we also want to make clear that, since a member of our faculty has been prohibited from teaching at NYU Abu Dhabi, the Carter Journalism Institute is not prepared to continue its relationship with NYUAD."

"Denying two members of the university’s faculty the ability to teach at NYUAD is harmful to our community and inimical to our values," it added.

Keshavarzian and Bazzi, who are both Shia Muslims, claim the UAE's decision was based on their religious affiliation. They slammed Hamilton for his lack of action surrounding the case.

"The issue is not about our denial of entry into the UAE or UAE's immigration policies," Keshavarzian told NYU Local last month. 

"It is about the response of the NYU administration, or, I should say, lack of response. Hamilton does not acknowledge the fact that we were denied entry to teach at NYU's very own campus."

Meanwhile, Bazzi said the institution's muted response is indicative of its policy toward challenging authorities.

"I find it strange that this was not a public statement from the president," Bazzi wrote to Local. "It's indicative of how the NYU administration continues to go out of its way to avoid publicly criticising the UAE or challenging its policies."

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