Russia’s first Muslim clinic opens in Moscow

Posted on December 12, 2007

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by Carole Landry Fri Dec 7, 11:39 AM ET

MOSCOW (AFP) – With Koranic scriptures adorning its walls, Russia‘s first Muslim clinic opened in Moscow this week, hailed by religious leaders as a sign of greater respect for Islam.

After cutting the red ribbon at the entrance of the gleaming modern facility in Moscow’s industrial southeast, Grand Mufti Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin described the opening of the Muslim clinic as a “historic event”.

“The international community can now see that in multinational and multi-faith Russia every citizen has the right to health services,” Gainutdin said at an official ceremony on Thursday.

Run by some 50 doctors and nurses, the Muslim clinic occupies one floor of the Price Quality (Tsena Kachetsvo) private health care centre in southeast Moscow and offers a prayer hall, an ablution room and snack bar of halal foods.

Dressed in white headscarves and loose-fitting tunics and trousers, nurses and female doctors carry out examinations of women in the presence of husbands or other women. Men are treated by male staff in a separate section.

“What’s important here is the atmosphere,” said Syrian doctor Kadir Makhmud. “As you can see the women dress modestly, there is a place to pray, this is all important for Muslims.”

“I would say that this was very much needed for the Muslim community,” said Makhmud, who has worked in several foreign-run clinics in Moscow since he moved to Russia from Syria two years ago.

While it seeks to cater to Moscow’s million-plus Muslims, the clinic more specifically targets the diplomatic community from the Middle East and Gulf countries who have been returning home for medical care. [more]

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