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MANITOBA, Canada, November 17, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A Christian medical student in Manitoba, Canada, has been expelled from university for expressing anti-abortion and pro-gun views on Facebook.

Rafael Zaki is a Coptic Christian, who left Egypt along with his parents, in order to be able to practise their religion freely. His parents are both very successful in medicinal careers, The Post Millennial (TPM) reports, and as Zaki aimed to follow in their footsteps, he entered the Max Rady College of Medicine in the University of Manitoba.

But the university has now expelled Zaki due to his anti-abortion, as well as for his pro-gun beliefs, which he had expressed on his personal Facebook page.

In February 2019, eighteen anonymous complaints were filed against him, alleging that his writings on Facebook made others feel “unsafe.” The writings referred to were pro-gun posts and a long anti-abortion essay, which had previously been composed for Zaki’s Sunday School.

Following a resulting investigation, Zaki was ordered to attend seven meetings with Dr. Ira Ripstein, the associate dean for undergraduate medical studies. 

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A Coptic Christian immigrant to Canada has been expelled from the University of Manitoba's College of Medicine for refusing to change his personal beliefs about the value of life from conception and the right to own firearms.

Rafael Zaki, who emigrated from Egypt with his parents to escape religious persecution, has wound up being subjected to another form of persecution...this time, in Manitoba.

Indeed, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees Rafael's fundamental rights such as the freedom of expression and the freedom of religion.

Please SIGN this petition to Manitoba's Minister of Economic Development and Training, Mr. Ralph Eichler, asking him to initiate an independent investigation into Rafael's case, and to remedy the situation as soon as possible.

Justice for Rafael must be swift and commensurate with the persecution he has endured at the hands of the University of Manitoba's College of Medicine.

The trouble for Rafael began in 2019, when anonymous accusers claimed that pro-life and pro-gun rights posts on his personal Facebook account made them feel "unsafe."

Unbelievably, these anonymous accusers even equated Zaki's being pro-life to his being "misogynistic and hostile to women" when nothing could be further from the truth!

But, an investigation of Zaki's posts was then undertaken, and he was ordered to attend seven "remediation" sessions with the College's Associate Dean for Undergraduate medical education, Dr. Ira Ripstein.

Immediately after he was notified of the accusations, Zaki removed the post which other people found unacceptable.

Then, he issued TEN apologies, five to his peers and five to his professors.

But, even after removing the posts and apologizing profusely, and attending the seven "remediation" sessions, Dr. Ripstein still wasn't impressed by Zaki's apparent contrition because he surmised that the young med student had not changed his beliefs.

And, why should he change his beliefs?!?

It is Rafael's right to hold pro-life and pro-gun rights views and express them publicly, as long as he did not bring university business into the conversation - which he did not.

And, the university has absolutely no right to insist that one of its students change his or her sincerely held beliefs which are not objectively hateful or incite violence.

But, in the end, Rafael was expelled from the University of Manitoba's College of Medicine, with Dr. Ira Ripstein seeming to act as Rafael's judge, jury and executioner.

So, right now, it is essential that Manitoba's Minister of Economic Development and Training, Ralph Eichler, launch an independent investigation into the treatment of Rafael Zaki at the hands of the College's administration.

We are calling for swift justice for Rafael Zaki so that he doesn't lose another minute of medical study to these chilling attacks on his freedom of speech and religion.

SIGN and SHARE this petition and stand up for Rafael now!

Then, please politely contact Minister Eichler's office to politely ask for justice to be done for Rafael Zaki. Please use this contact information:

Minister's Office
Phone: 204-945-0067
Fax: 204-945-4882
Email [email protected]

Thank you!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'Canadian university expels medical student for anti-abortion, conservative Facebook posts'https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/canadian-university-expels-medical-student-for-anti-abortion-conservative-facebook-posts

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TPM records that Zaki had to pen a total of ten letters to both teachers and students, apologizing for any offence caused through stating his views on Facebook. The original posts were later deleted by Zaki, less than twenty-four hours after the original allegations. 

Ripstein’s meetings, and the subsequent letters, were supposedly a way for Zaki to avoid any disciplinary action being taken against him. 

But TPM reports that “[a]ccording to Dr. Ripstein, the apologies were insufficiently remorseful and sincere, as they did not include testimony to a change in [Zaki’s] beliefs”.

Both Ripstein and other students persisted to state that they felt unsafe with Zaki, and Ripstein claimed that the apologies were even insincere, since “they did not include testimony to a change in his beliefs.” In his posts online, Zaki had compared abortion to the Holocaust, and continued, in line with his Christian faith, to hold that abortion was a moral evil. 

Due to not changing his beliefs, Zaki was then expelled from Rady College at the end of August, 2019, under the “Student Non-Academic Misconduct and Concerning Behaviour Procedure.” 

Zaki was allowed to continue attending his lectures until any appeals were finished, but his subsequent appeals against the decision failed. 

In an affidavit as part of the appeal process, Zaki declared that the university had violated its own procedures. The policyunder which he was expelled, states that the university may not control a student’s social media unless “matters regarding the University are a significant focus of the communication,” which they were not. 

The university also violated its principles in other areas, notably by not properly informing Zaki of the complaints against him, as well as all the evidence and identities of the complainants. 

The Post Millennial mentions that Zaki has still not learnt the identities of those who complained against him. 

In July of this year, the university decreed that “on the balance of probabilities, Zaki had committed an act of Non-Academic Misconduct in the form of professional misconduct.” Furthermore, the disciplinary committee stated that Zaki’s statements were “misogynistic and hostile to women,” thus causing a “negative impact on the learning and work environment.” 

The university’s disciplinary committee also declared that “a change in the Appellant’s behaviour was essential in order to meet the professionalism standards set by the UGME policies.”

Dr. Ripstein was involved as “a principal in decision-making at every stage of the case up to the last appeal.” Zaki’s affidavit noted that Ripstein’s own views of abortion and gun rights, “alleged further wild accusations.”

Aside from violating the policy under which Zaki was originally expelled, the decision also violated the University of Manitoba’s Disclosure and Complaints Procedure. That document includes “Religion or creed, or religious belief,” as well as “Political belief, political association or political activity,” as “Protected Characteristic[s]” which are to be protected from any discrimination. 

Zaki’s religious beliefs pertaining to the immorality of abortion, and his political views in favour of gun ownership, should thus have been free from discrimination according to the university’s own policies.

The U.K based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, (SPUC), issued a statement on Zaki’s expulsion: “The bigoted treatment of Rafael Zaki is an appalling and blatantly anti-Christian violation of free speech. His family fled Egypt to escape this sort of persecution.”

SPUC continued, “According to the university’s college of medicine, it cannot admit any student who is against abortion. Not only does this constitute persecution of pro-lifers, but it also bars devout Christians from learning medicine. This is a classic case of a kangaroo court violating a man’s right to free speech and free practice of religion.”

The Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship also responded to the university’s decision, calling it a rejection of the “long-standing democratic freedom” to express one’s beliefs, and “opening the door to the imposition of other non-academic tests for university membership.”

Zaki has set up a fundraising page, to raise funds to continue his legal battle with the university.

Contact information for respectful communications to the Max Rady College of Medicine in the University of Manitoba can be found here.

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