190

On a coauthored paper, it's perfectly reasonable for the acknowledgments to specify who is thanking whom when it's just a subset of the authors, and this is not uncommon (e.g., "X and Y are grateful to the A Institute for hosting their visit" or the like, when author Z wasn't actually there). This is the approach Ritz suggested in the comments, and I'd ...


176

Will ISIS attacks hurt my PhD application as a Muslim? Only indirectly. Admissions committees have good incentive to get the sharpest, most hard working people into their programs. They will care about your excellent results, as they should. But administrative procedures may hinder people coming from your part of the world more than other applicants. I am ...


136

My advice is to state facts not conclusions. For example, you should not say: It's impossible to finish my degree here because they discriminate against Christians. Instead, you could say: I finished all my coursework, but I have been unable to get a spot in a lab -- there are only 10 lab spots for 40 students. Further, two different professors told ...


112

Regardless of my own faith, referring to god a dozen times in an application is highly unusual and rather unprofessional. Prospective PhD students, however, should have some understanding of the professional customs of the field. (After all, you don't go on at length about any other personal and non-work-related beliefs and preferences in applications, ...


104

Well, this is clearly not a match made in heaven. (Sorry, I really didn't intend this as a pun.) What a shame, you had really bad luck. There is no need to keep this a secret from the other professors. It is very unlikely that they are clones of this guy, even if they do have a friendship with him. Yes, you do need to talk to the dean of graduate ...


94

I grew up in a Muslim-majority country. Do's and don'ts: Do show respect for the religion. That means avoid doing things like comment on how inconvenient it must be to pray five times a day, don't offer non-halal food, don't invite people to lunch during Ramadan, etc. Do do as they do, if possible and not inconvenient. For example if you take lunch together,...


83

If you can make an accommodation that allows the student to participate without violating his religious observance, and without compromising the educational goals of the class, and without requiring an extreme amount of effort on your part, then it is reasonable to make the accommodation. I regularly miss classes and exams due to religious observance. ...


81

This is a startling story. Bottom line: any physics department in which the chair makes a point of "not believing in 'evolution'" and takes a student's "belief in evolution" as relevant to her studies is almost certainly a physics department that any student is better off away from. Scientists are not in the position of "believing" or "disbelieving" ...


67

There are situations in which you need to be sensitive to others and they should extend the same courtesy to you. However, there are some places in which religious feeling is so strong as to overcome such sentiment. It can be dangerous in many ways (academic, physical,...) to disagree with religious "consensus" in such places. There are some colleges in the ...


64

People in some Middle Eastern countries use the name of god so frequently that these words are becoming familiar even in the west:. Inshallah, wallah, ilhamdulillah, mashallah, yallah (i think) and probably a few more. For less religious people these are just phrases they use without thinking twice, but the more religious are quite conscious of their literal ...


59

If your paper is accepted is it perfectly appropriate to ask them to observe your religious guidelines. A lot of people will give special date restrictions when presenting in a conference for lesser things like they need to fly home by a certain date, their funding doesn't cover hotels for the length of the conference, or they just don't have a desire to ...


51

Will these events perhaps hurt my application? No, I don't think you need to worry about this. It's possible in principle that they could, but only if something went terribly wrong. If I were on an admissions committee and detected any signs of religious or cultural bias along these lines, I would be shocked and would intervene, including getting the ...


50

IMHO, you should feel lucky about knowing that the rapport with you and this person is incompatible at such an early stage. Occurrence of such an event at a much later time may have caused devastating results. Is seems like @aparente001's procedure seems appropriate. Also take notice to @Dan's advice; reacting too vigorously may spoil you career within the ...


45

There's a lovely answer by @cag51. If you're comfortable with that approach, go for it. In case you're still feeling a little queasy and would prefer to be a bit more private about the situation -- I'll make a stab at a vaguer approach: I finished all my coursework, but I would be more comfortable continuing my studies in an environment less fraught ...


43

There's nothing wrong with thanking God or other religious figures, and it's not particularly unusual. It could upset people if you use the acknowledgments as a place to expound religious doctrine, but no reasonable person would take offense at simply thanking God and I've never seen it cause any controversy.


42

There's a big difference between inconspicuously displaying religiously-themed materials in one's office and effectively proselytizing, as the retired faculty in your example apparently did. The former is I think entirely reasonable, as it's a personal display that does not put any burden on a visitor or guest to the office. Putting religious materials in ...


41

It's acceptable, but why do you need to use it? It seems to me that you could just as easily use a secular phrase like "looking down from above"?


36

I think there's no universally right answer, but you should try going through some steps for your situation: Does it conflict with your beliefs? Personally I would be adamantly against such a thing in a paper I was a coauthor on, but that's my personal belief. I'm guessing it clashes at least a little with your personal belief or you wouldn't be here ...


35

There are some situations where religion could limit someone's ability to do their job. For example, a Muslim professor may require prayer breaks, which could limit the times at which they can give lectures. Religion should be mentioned only on a "need to know" basis, unless it's common practice to include it in the country you're applying to. Similarly to ...


32

I would say that this falls under the category of "reasonable requests for accommodation," and suggest pursuing option #1: first see if you're accepted, and then if you are, send a request to not be scheduled on Saturday. The conference schedule is almost certainly not yet determined (it will depend on the distribution of accepted papers), and the fraction ...


31

I really sympathize with your situation. This is the kind of case that gives academia a bad name and highlights the inherent power imbalance between professors and students. Academia has devised all kinds of tricks and checks and balances to mitigate this imbalance and the conflicts it leads to, but unfortunately the system still leaves plenty of room for ...


30

There are a lot of places you could go to learn about Islam, starting with wikipedia. It could be interesting to do so: I recently read the Autobiography of Malcolm X and found his description of his pilgrimage to Mecca fascinating and moving. Last semester when I talked about Gabriel's Horn in my calculus course I wanted to be more balanced in my ...


25

I also spent a few years in a MENA country in an academic environment. As you say, eating food/drinking water in public during Ramadan was illegal, as were certain standards of dress, however my experience over the years was that this did not in any way mean that the individuals I lived and worked with (including those who were practicing Muslims) were by ...


24

It's not the job of places of learning to give way to superstition. Indeed, quite the reverse: the whole Enlightenment Project was about bringing light into darkness, and all the Academia I'm familiar with puts itself broadly in the Enlightenment tradition. So yes, this answer will read as uncompromising. Because, from experience, I've found that rigorous ...


24

Here is a document explaining some of the legal issues involved. Since I have no legal education, I will refrain from commenting too much, it is probably better to consult the document and the references within. With that disclaimer, my understanding is that the main legal tension is between First Amendment rights of the employee and the anti-discrimination ...


22

This kind of letter should typically be brief and straightforward. Unless they have told you specifically what should be in the letter, you can write: To whom it may concern: Please be advised that, as a Muslim, my religious observance precludes me from living on a coeducational campus. As per the advice of [person or office who told you to write the letter]...


22

There are several questions here. First, most people consider their religious beliefs to be a private matter, though that is not true for all cultures. If someone is applying to a school that shares a culture in which god is "worn on the sleeve" then it would be fine, I guess, but in a cross-cultural application it might be unwise for the applicant....


21

You seem to be a reasonable person. The fact that you're asking this question means that at least one reasonable person has doubts about what you're proposing to do is appropriate. Since using this particular metaphor isn't crucial to your course, why do it? To be honest, I don't think it would be an issue but I'd also recommend against it simply because it ...


21

Will they? Yes. Is there anything you can do about it? Not much. Will it matter much? Hopefully not. It is a fact of life that people are biased about almost everything all the time. Sometimes the biases are small sometimes they are big. That sucks, but it is human nature. Usually people in most academic positions are able to overcome their silly biases ...


21

If I were in your position, I would feel a little uncomfortable about acknowledging God (for God, read "a god", "the God", "Gods", or whatever) in a paper as well. Not, I hasten to add, because I have any problem with a scientist believing in God, but just because I don't think that is really what the acknowledgement section is for. Most journals ask for ...


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