2 Iraqi Doctors Sue A&M, Allege Racial, Religious Bias

September 25, 2008

Author: Mary Flood

Source: The Houston Chronicle


Two Iraqi doctors who fled to the United States to avoid persecution have filed a lawsuit against Texas A&M, saying they were regularly debased and that co-workers threw animal feces and urine on their prayer rug.

In a discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed in Houston federal court, two married doctors, Mundhir Ridha and Saeeda Ali Muhsen, say they endured intolerable harassment because of their national origin, race and religion. They sued the school, several of its divisions and five former co-workers. Their lawyer said others at the school have been treated badly because of their background.

"The folks at A&M treated them horribly because they looked different, ate different food and spoke differently and because they are from Iraq and Muslim," said the couple's Houston lawyer, Shane McClelland.

McClelland said Texas A&M did its own investigation of the matter and found there was a hostile environment in which unnecessarily harsh, abrasive and insensitive criticisms were tolerated. But the investigation nevertheless found that wasn't discrimination the school would address.

He said other foreign students have suffered similar humiliations, and many are frightened their careers could be ruined if they complain.

Lane Stephenson, spokesman for Texas A&M, said it is policy not to discuss pending legal matters. "I can categorically state it's the university's policy not to discriminate against anyone," he said.