Iqbal Al Assaad-Doctor or Refugee?



‘I am incredibly proud of Iqbal Al Assaad. The news of her being possibly one of the youngest doctors in the world has been in and out of the media over the last few years. Her story is not a new one and it remains inspiring and yet tainted at the same time. Assad excelled in her education, skipping grades, winning the support of scholarships for her education and was called a ‘child prodigy’. For her, ‘the sky is the limit.’

Assaad, a Palestinian refugee raised in Lebanon, had aspirations to become a doctor after witnessing the plight of her fellow Palestinians in refugee camps who had no access to medical treatment. Assaad says, ‘These visits to the camps made me feel that it is my responsibility to study medicine and try to help these people.’

However, it seems there is a limit. Assaad’s dream of helping Palestinian’s in Lebanon or her homeland is currently impossible. She cannot return to Palestine and in Lebanon, Palestinian refugees are not allowed to work as doctors.

With the number of refugees increasing, (figures for 2013 showed a total of 51.2 million refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people), the issue of integration into societies becomes increasingly more relevant and important.’

‘Negatively labelling millions of people into one category is harmful and unhelpful. Displaced persons can and do contribute successfully to society, if those societies give them the opportunity and means to do so.’

Read the full article via Muslimah Media Watch

Published by Shereen Malherbe

Shereen Malherbe is a writer & author. Her novel, Jasmine Falling has been voted as one of the top 20 Best Books by Muslim women. Her second contemporary fiction novel, The Tower, was published by Beacon Books on April 2019. Her first children's book, The Girl Who Slept Under The Moon is out now.

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