Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 20:29 pm (KSA) 17:29 pm (GMT)

Muslim doctors open free clinic in Ohio

Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison (4R standing) at the clinic opening
Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison (4R standing) at the clinic opening

A group of Muslim doctors has opened the first free clinic in Ohio run by Muslim physicians, press reports said.

"It is a small attempt by Muslims to help solve the health insurance crisis in America," Dr. Esam Alkhawaga, a psychiatrist and spokesperson for the free clinic, told AlArabiya.net on Monday.

An estimated 47 million Americans lack health insurance. Officials say Montgomery County – the region around Dayton, Ohio, where the clinic is based – has nearly 70,000 uninsured residents, about 13 percent of its population.

At least 15 Muslim primary care physicians are signed up and credentialed to work at The Muslim Clinic of Ohio, Dr. Ramzieh Azmeh, the co-founder of the clinic, told the Dayton Daily News.

Azmeh, a board certified internist and pediatrician, added that another 50 specialists are also ready to contribute.

America's first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, was present at the clinic's grand opening on Sunday morning. Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, famously used a Quran once owned by Thomas Jefferson at his swearing-in.

The clinic is the brainchild of the Dayton Mercy Society, a Muslim group that promotes community service and Islamic values.

"Our goal is to engage the Muslim community in outreach work and let people know that Muslims are part of this community," Dr. Alkhawaga, who sits on the board of the society, told the Dayton Daily News.

"Most of us (at Dayton Mercy) are physicians and we felt as Muslims this could be the least we could do to give back to America for what they've done for us."

The clinic is slated to open on May 1 and will operate from 5-9 p.m. every Thursday at the Reach Out medical center in Dayton, Ohio.

It will serve adults and children, regardless of race or religion, Alkhawaga told the paper.

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