Lebanese University exam slammed for hinting Syrians are murderers

Lebanese University exam slammed for hinting Syrians are murderers
2 min read
31 Jan, 2016
When a Lebanese exam involved the example of "a Syrian killing a Lebanese," many said it was indicative of racism towards refugees in the country.
Many viewed the exam as portraying Syrians as potential murderers [Twitter]
An exam for legal students in the second year of the Lebanese University provided rich material for social media activists when Professor Wissam Ghayyad used the example of a Syrian killing a Lebanese to discuss a point of law.

"Samer, a Syrian national, trying to kill the owner of a co-op in the city of Sidon," the exam read.  

This lead to activists denouncing the examination, demanding an investigation in order to hold management in the university responsible; many saw the exam question as a continuation of "racist policies" adopted by Lebanese authorities towards Syrian refugees.

Among these policies that were criticised was Lebanon's decision to drop the country's refugee visa, which had allowed 1.5 million to cross the border and escape the war in Syria.

Undergraduate Syrian students have told The New Arab that Lebanon has also recently refused to renew many of their residencies.  

Yet the professor of art history told The New Arab that the question was not racist, but the backlash was down to activists’ "sensitivity".  

Ghayyad said that he used "realistic" examples in his exams, taken from the Journal of Justice issued by the Bar Association of Lebanon.

"In this exam I specifically chose this example because it was brought up during a debate in the classroom," he explained.

He emphasised that in previous exam examples the "murderers" had come from a range of backgrounds, including Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians - victims too had a fair range of representation.  

Although the Lebanese University professor denied the presence of "any messages directed against Syrians" on the exam, for many activists the "official racist stance of Lebanon" towards refugees made the question "an issue of human rights".  

Last year, in a series of documented abuses against refugees, an undercover crew from a Lebanese television show filmed children at a Lebanese public school apparently being made to kneel before the national flag in what appeared to be a punishment.