An associate professor of journalism at New York University said United Arab Emirate officials denied him the requisite security clearance he needed to teach at NYU’s campus in Abu Dhabi this fall for reasons that he believes are related to his religion. The university acknowledged that two of its faculty were recently denied visas to teach at the Abu Dhabi campus, but disagreed with the conclusions the professor draws in his op-ed and said the campus has students and staff from a wide array of countries and faiths.
Writing in an op-ed in The New York Times, Mohamad Bazzi wrote that while Emirati officials did not give a reason for the denial of his security clearance, he believes it is due to the fact that he is a Shiite Muslim originally from Lebanon. “The U.A.E., like Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states, are worried about Iran’s regional ascendance and its influence over Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen,” Bazzi wrote in the op-ed, published Tuesday. “This anxiety fuels a fear that virtually any Shiite in the region could pose a security threat — and could be linked to Iran or its allies.” Read more.