Since 2000, Al-Shifa clinic has served the mostly Latino residents of Muscoy, a small town in San Bernardino, California. The clinic has an open-door policy regardless of race, religion or socio-economic status. “Shifa” is the Arabic word for cure and this all-volunteer, free clinic serves the under-insured community based on the teachings of Islam. The clinic’s mandate is simple, have compassion for the sick and give service to the needy.
“We are Muslims and we want to help the community,” says Dr. Talat Khan, director of Al-Shifa Clinic. “It does not have to be the Muslim community because most of the people we see are Hispanic and people of other faiths. We want to help them out. Our religion tells us that we should take care of under-served.”
Dr. Khwaja Ali Sidiqui also volunteers at the clinic, and concurs with his colleague. “Doctors are trained to help people regardless of their religion or what language they speak. When you visit a doctor, you are his [or] her patient. We treat our patients regardless of what faith they belong to.
According to Voice of America, the clinic has 16 examination rooms, and treatment extends to internal medicine, pediatrics, mental health, neurology, obstetrics gynecology, preventive medicine and dentistry. There’s also a well-equipped lab.
For the patients who rely on Al-Shifa, the clinic is literally a life-saver. “It is amazing,” says patient Lynne Missi. “I don’t know how they do it — except that the doctors do offer their services free. They volunteer and that is amazing. They are really, really nice people to do that. I think ‘Wow! Who would do that?”