Free Muslim-run health clinic opens to all in Northeast Philly
Outreach coordinator and board member Maaz Baqai stands outside SHAMS Clinic on Frankford Avenue during the grand opening event on Sunday, April 8, 2018. (Natalie Piserchio/for WHYY)
Before the ribbon was cut Sunday afternoon, staff and supporters of SHAMS Clinic on Frankford Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia began the grand opening celebration with a prayer from the Koran.
Speaking in part about the diversity of the city’s languages and colors, the prayer seemed to echo the mission of the clinic itself: It is open to everyone who needs it, but members of the all-volunteer staff make no apology about being Muslim, and their connection to an Islamic service organization.
“I’m really hoping today, with the grand opening, people will just see that we’re really not different from all the other organizations,” said medical director, Dr. Ammar Shahid.
“We’ve reached out to the local churches, synagogues, local businesses and let them know that sure we’re under a Muslim name and Muslim leaders, but we are open to everyone,” he added. “We’re not discriminating based on race or culture, even where you’re from. The whole community is helped, not just the Muslims here.”