It was a good many years ago — in fact, a couple of years before 9/11 — that I first recognized Islam as a terrifying ideology that teaches its adherents to despise and, if given the opportunity, to murder the infidel.
At the same time, I was deeply aware that in the Western world, Muslims were, on a very large scale, being accepted as immigrants by governments that had never asked their citizens for permission to welcome these often very challenging newcomers into their midst. This state of affairs raised a great number of unsettling questions, one of which was brought into focus when I became aware in 2007 of a certain young Muslim man by the name of Mohammed Usman Rana.
At the time I was living in Oslo, Norway, and Rana was an undergraduate at the University of Oslo, where he served as the head of the Muslim Students Association. He made it into the papers — and onto my radar — when, at a public debate about Muslim attitudes toward homosexuality, he volunteered that while he was personally opposed to executing people for being gay, he was not about to criticize Muslim countries where homosexuals are subject to the death penalty. Some years later, Rana wrote that when Muslims tolerate homosexuality, they “water down” their faith and rob it of its “credibility.”
Rana, a very intelligent young man, eventually became a doctor. Not a Dr. Jill Biden type of doctor — a physician. An M.D. A man with a stethoscope around his neck who was permitted to examine and treat patients.
When I learned of this professional development, I immediately recognized that it raised, shall we say, a rather serious question. If, say, you’re gay, and you need a doctor, are you a bigot if you refuse to go to a Muslim doctor? Or are you a fool not to? What if you’re a Jew? Or a Hindu? Or a Buddhist? Or a woman who dresses and behaves in ways that, you suspect, might not go over well in Tehran or Doha?
The nature of the crisis
I still live in Norway, and in the years since Rana hung up his shingle, these questions have become even more important, given that the number of Muslim medical professionals in this country has increased immensely — and given, too, that the Norwegian health care system, as currently constituted, doesn’t allow for a significant amount of patient choice.
At present, indeed, Norway’s system is plagued by a crisis: Most general practitioners’ patient lists are full. Which means that if you’ve just moved to a small town and want a family doctor, the two or three elderly Norwegian practitioners may well be unavailable, leaving you no choice other than a Muslim GP. And if something happens to you that requires you to undergo surgery, and you make an appointment for an operation, you may very well not know, until the very last minute, who’s going to be standing over you with a scalpel just before the anesthesia takes effect.
This isn’t just a Norwegian problem. And it’s not entirely a problem about medical care, either.
All this became exceedingly clear in the wake of Hamas’ October 7 attacks in Israel, when the Jew-hatred of various doctors and other professionals who, until a few days earlier, had been imagined by all and sundry to be decent and respectable citizens, came pouring out like bile.
After Hamas murderers used gliders to swoop down on a music festival in the Negev and massacre innocent participants, Dr. Abeer N. AbouYabis, a physician at the Emory Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta, wrote triumphantly on social media: “They got walls[,] we got gliders[;] glory to all resistance fighters.” Dr. Andrew Thierry, a Beverly Hills radiologist, described Israeli Jews on X (formerly Twitter) as “angry little Zionist war pigs” and called them “genocidal, demonic, greedy, pedophilic.”
Dr. Ahmed ElKoussa, a dentist in Coral Gables, was caught ripping down pictures of the people kidnapped by Hamas. Dr. Dana Diab of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York wrote on Instagram that Israelis were “getting a taste of their own medicine.” Dr. Ben Thompson, a nephrologist at a hospital near Toronto, posted on X: “No babies were beheaded, there have been no confirmed reports of rapes. You repeat this nonsense out of racism.”
And that’s just a small fraction of the doctors who’ve been generous enough to share their anti-Semitism with the world since October 7. And think of all the many more doctors — hundreds? thousands? more? — who’ve been smart enough to savor in privacy their joy over the butchery of Jewish babies.
Appeasement or survival?
To be sure, it’s not just doctors. During the last couple of weeks, there have been plenty of stories about law students whose participation in pro-Hamas demonstrations has led top-flight law firms to withdraw lucrative job offers. Professors at pretty much every top college in America have shared online their utter contempt for Jews. Men and women in many other lines of work have also had their ugly say. That dentist in Coral Gables was only one of many people in supposedly respectable positions who’ve been caught on camera tearing down posters of missing Israeli children.
But there is something uniquely disgusting about the spectacle of doctors — people who’ve taken the Hippocratic Oath, for heaven’s sake! — celebrating the torture, rape, murder, and dismemberment of innocents. What is to be done when people with the hearts and souls of Nazis — of Mengeles — are masquerading as responsible, honorable physicians and surgeons?
Now that it’s clear to everyone that this appalling situation exists — that you or I or one of our loved ones could end up on an operating table under the knife of someone who’s supposed to help us but who really hates us with a hatred far beyond our own comprehension — why should it be allowed to go on for another moment?
After October 7, does our readiness to appease, our eagerness to avoid unpleasantness, our desperation to do anything — anything! — to escape being labeled racists or Islamophobes still outweigh our survival instinct?
Bruce Bawer is the author most recently of “The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Birth of the Woke Ideology.” His other books include “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender.” His novel “The Alhambra” was published in 2017.