Muslims in the United States are feeling the heat of negative stereotypes about their faith and are making efforts to counter this in any way possible.
In one such move, Central Florida’s Muslim leaders last week unveiled a new free clinic that will serve the poor and uninsured of all backgrounds.
The facility, the American Muslim Community Centers Clinic in Longwood, will initially be open only on Fridays, but officials said it would grow to three days a week in a month or two and eventually to five days a week.
Atif Fareed, Chairman of the AMCC said,
“Our goal is to serve humanity — no strings attached. Everyone is welcome. We have over 40 physicians who come to our mosque, and we have 11 of them signed up to volunteer here. So we are very, very blessed.”
The clinic will offer general health care to anyone in Orange, Osceola or Seminole counties who is uninsured and earning below 200 percent of the federal poverty line — which works out to $23,760 a year for an individual and $48,600 for a family of four.
The community centers raised $250,000 to buy and refurbish the clinic building, a former doctor’s office. It has at least two exam rooms and space for lab work.
Other religious leaders have praised the effort. Senior Pastor of Northland, Joel Hunter said,
“It’s a blessing, the way you build trust in the community is that you serve everyone. I think anyone who comes to this clinic will leave with a favorable view of Islam.”
Longwood Commissioner John Maingot said the facility will help fill a deep need.
“We know there are thousands of people in Central Florida who could use a facility like this, and if they don’t get help here, they tend to wind up in our emergency rooms.”