The metro-area Muslim community has partnered with a national Islamic relief agency to open a community clinic in the Mercy Mission Building at 3840 N St. Clair in northwest Oklahoma City.

An inauguration ceremony for the new Shifa Free Clinic was held Wednesday, with about 200 people in attendance. Guests toured the new facility after the ceremony and a brief ribbon-cutting presentation.

Local Muslim leaders said they have been working for about a year to join with the Islamic Circle of North America relief arm, generally known as ICNA Relief, to bring the health effort to fruition.

The clinic was one of the key mission efforts planned for the Mercy Mission Building when it was opened in 2015 by the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City. The building, adjacent to the society’s mosque, also includes a food pantry, women’s resource center and the society’s outreach offices.

The clinic includes a waiting room, several exam rooms, a conference room and office. The facility’s leaders said the clinic would initially be open on Saturdays, and they plan to begin the free health services from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 11.

‘Instruments of the Healer’

Dr. Zahid Cheema, a metro-area neurologist, told the crowd that the clinic was a way the facility’s volunteer doctors, all area Muslims, would put their faith in action.

“Faith is useless unless translated into practice,” said Cheema, who served as master of ceremonies at the event. “We all know that healing is from God, God Almighty alone. We are instruments of the Healer.”

Another doctor involved with the project, Edmond physician Bilal Piracha, president of ICNA-Oklahoma City, said he was pleased to see the turnout for the clinic’s opening.

“It is so heartening and motivating to see us all together under one roof,” he said.

Special guests included Maqsood Ahmad, executive director of ICNA Relief USA; Tim Johnson, president of Integris Baptist Hospital; and state Rep. George Young, D-Oklahoma City.

Ahmad said the clinic is among six operated in the United States in partnership with ICNA Relief USA. He said the clinics, along with the humanitarian relief organization’s food pantries, back-to-school programs, counseling centers and refugee services, are ways to show that Muslim Americans are “equal shareholders” in the nation, despite anti-Muslim rhetoric that says otherwise.

“A small number of Islamophobics have labeled us as a burden and a liability,” Ahmad said. “We have to stand up against such hate-mongering with dignity and full confidence.”

Imad Enchassi, senior imam and founder of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, gave the

“We know this ground is good soil and the facility is good seed,” he said.