ORLANDO – Providing a free medical help for vulnerable and uninsured Americans, American Muslim leaders in Central Florida unveiled a new clinic offering free medical service for people of all faiths, a move they hope will help counter negative stereotypes about their faith.
“Our goal is to serve humanity — no strings attached. Everyone is welcome,” Atif Fareed, the chairman of the American Muslim Community Centers Clinic (AMCC) in Longwood, told Orlando Sentinel on Friday.
“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 facility, which opened its doors on Friday, January 13, will start seeing patients next week and initially will be open only on Fridays.
This will extend soon to three days a week in a month or two and eventually to five days a week, officials promised.
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.
Patients can make appointments online at amssclinic.org, and Longwood Pharmacy has agreed to fill many common prescriptions for free, Fareed said.
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.
The clinic, located at 588 Wilma St., just off State Road 434, was widely praised by local religious leaders.
“It’s a blessing,” said Senior Pastor Joel Hunter of Northland, a Longwood mega-church, who joined in the celebration.
“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,” he said. “And if they don’t get help here, they tend to wind up in our emergency rooms.”
Moazzam Adnan Raja, a spokesman for the clinic, expected the clinic to draw hundreds of visitors from all faith groups.
“We’ll do what we can to serve as many as possible,” he said. “Our mercy should not be constrained.”
Thee clinic is not the first effort by Muslim doctors to offer free medical service.