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Monday, June 7, 2010

Congressman Ellison Honors Supporters of Muslim-run Community Health Clinic

University Muslim Medical Association, better known as UMMA Clinic, unveiled a decorative mural this past weekend bearing the name of all its donors, including Islamic Relief USA, a longtime funder and supporter of the clinic.

Saleem Khalid, IR USA's Domestic Programs Manager, has always been impressed with UMMA Clinic's work and said he was honored to attend the wall’s unveiling ceremony on Saturday in Los Angeles. Congressman Keith Ellison and Los Angeles City Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas were also on hand and spoke before a crowd of about 100 supporters.

"UMMA exists because of the people who care about the patients that it serves," Ellison told the crowd, who responded with enthusiastic applause. "The Muslim community in the United States is here to make a positive contribution to our neighbors, here to be a blessing to [the] community, and I can't think of a better example than the people here at UMMA Clinic," he said.
UMMA provides a wide variety of medical services to the underserved communities of South L.A., but one of their patients told the crowd it was more than just medical service. Arturo Garcia, a homeless man who bakes bread for a living, addressed the crowd in Spanish. He called UMMA’s relationship with the community a "brotherhood" and thanked those who support the clinic.

"Gracias UMMA," he said.

Islamic Relief USA has been one of the clinic’s top supporters since it was founded in 1996. More than 3,000 people visit UMMA Clinic every year to take advantage of the vital services, which include prenatal care, basic health services and immunizations for children.

"Islamic Relief USA is pleased to help support UMMA Clinic sustain the invaluable work that they do. The clinic's efforts to provide access to quality, affordable health care regardless of ability to pay, is consistent with our mission at IR USA, which is in part, to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner," said Khalid. "We look forward to a continued role in supporting the ever expanding activities of UMMA Clinic."

Rep. Ellison was impressed to hear about Islamic Relief USA's support of the clinic.

"I think it’s fundamentally important that the great work that Islamic Relief does around the world is reflected here in the United States," he said. "Americans need to see the beneficial presence of well-run Muslim charity organizations doing good work here in America," he added.

To read more about Islamic Relief USA's domestic projects, please click here. To see a slideshow of the event, please click here.

--Zeyad Maasarani
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