Rafael Zaki, a Canadian immigrant who fled religious persecution in Egypt, was expelled from a Manitoba medical school after he said he refused to recant his pro-life beliefs.
National Post reports Zaki won an appeal against the University of Manitoba this month in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Manitoba after he was expelled in August 2019.
A medical student and a Coptic Orthodox immigrant from Egypt, Zaki said the university disciplined him for writing several posts on Facebook in defense of unborn babies’ right to life and conscience protections for pro-life medical workers.
In a ruling this month, Judge Ken Champagne said the university failed to consider Zaki’s right to free expression when it tried to force him to apologize and then expelled him, according to the report.
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Champagne described the university’s actions as “incorrect and unreasonable.”
“He would not and could not change his deeply held pro-life religious beliefs,” the judge wrote in his ruling.
The problems for Zaki began in February 2019 after he posted an essay that he wrote on Facebook arguing against abortion. He titled it, “Refuting the ‘Final Solution’ for Undocumented Infants: A Reconciliatory Formula.” Zaki argued that abortionists should be charged with murder, and government mandates that require pro-life doctors to refer for abortions are “forced labour,” the report continues.
He also wrote two posts defending the Second Amendment right to bear arms in the U.S.
Here’s more from the report:
Zaki’s posts received 18 anonymous complaints to the university and he was brought in for meetings with top faculty members. Zaki agreed he had written the posts and that they were unprofessional. He then made five attempts to write an apology letter regarding the posts, none of which were deemed satisfactory.
“Your fifth apology lacked sincerity, as no evidence of any personal exploration or self-examination of any of your attitudes was provided,” the 2019 expulsion decision states, according to court documents. “Further, you continued to apologize for the impact your article had on readers, suggesting it was their fault for being offended.”
The university also accused him of being unprofessional and misogynistic and argued that he was disrupting the learning atmosphere at the University of Manitoba.
Zaki said he was expelled “for holding contentious and religious beliefs that abortion is harmful.”
Initially, Zaki appealed his case within the university system, but when he lost the appeal, he turned to the government courts for justice.
His lawyer Carol Crosson celebrated the victory, noting that Zaki and his family emigrated from Egypt to Canada to have religious freedom.
“They came here to find freedom, and then their son went through this at the university,” Crosson said. “I’m very happy for the family that the trek to freedom has been positive in the final result.”
Across the world, pro-life medical workers and students are facing discrimination simply for believing that unborn babies are patients who deserve care, too.
In the United States, a pro-life medical student is fighting a similar battle in court after the University of Kentucky Medical School expelled him. Austin Clark, a young father of two, said the university bullied and harassed him and later expelled him because he was vocal about his pro-life beliefs.
And in 2020, British midwife student Julia Rynkiewicz won a legal victory against the University of Nottingham after it threatened to expel her because of her pro-life beliefs.