At a council meeting to discuss the mask mandate in the St Louis County, Dr Faisal Khan, the acting Director of the Department of Public Health, was subject to racist and xenophobic remarks. Khan, on 28 July, wrote a letter to Chairperson of the council, requesting her "to take appropriate steps to investigate the matter".
Dr Khan, in his letter, claims that while he was presenting his analysis of COVID-19 and backing the necessity of masks and mask mandate before the council, Republican politicians seated behind him "berated" him and tried to distract him. "On more than one occasion, I was shoulder bumped and pushed," he wrote. He also complained about being called a "fat brown c***."
His accent was made fun of, and his South Asian heritage was being used to attack his credibility, he claimed.
In his letter, Dr Faisal tried to explain is background in public health and mentioned that never in his 25 years of service he has been subject to something like this. He accused Tim Fitch of being the "leader of the crowd" and as someone who has been "stoking racist vitriol" against him since the day of appointment.
Tim Fitch was the one to have allegedly invited Khan to give the speech and explain the science behind the mask mandate. Fitch, according to Khan's claims, was the one who whistled and attacked his credibility.
Khan is not licensed to practice as a physician in the United States. He has over 25 years of experience in public health and has been working as the Director of the department of public health of the county for six months now.
Fitch claims that his questions were in good faith and that Khan wrote the letter to save himself from the repercussions of his showing the middle finger in the council meeting, reported local daily Post-Dispatch.
Support Pours in For Khan, But...
The events of the council meeting has been courting controversy since. While support has been pouring in for Dr Khan, at the same time questions are being raised on the validity of his claims.
Two videos on social media are said to undercut Khan's claims. It shows Khan exit the room alone as opposed to his claims of being surrounded by a crowd and physically attacked.
A spokesman for Republican US Senate candidate Mark McCloskey called that allegations “fictitious" whereas spokesman for County Executive Sam Page backed Khan, casting the criticism as the product of “political operatives” and “cherry-picked witnesses”. He noted the administration’s separate investigation of the allegations is ongoing, The Post-Dispatch reported.
"“I stand by my letter to the council chairperson,” he wrote in a text message to the Post-Dispatch. “This charade of an inquiry is designed only to impugn my character and credibility.”" - Dr Faisal Khan to St Louis' newspaper Post Dispatch
(With inputs from St Louis Post Dispatch)
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