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Celebrating Achievements of UMMA Community Clinic on its 10th Anniversary

August 6, 2009
Floor Statement
Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]: Mr. Speaker, I come before the House tonight to celebrate the achievements of the UMMA Community Clinic upon the occasion of its 10th anniversary. The UMMA Community Clinic is a community health facility that serves uninsured and impoverished families in my congressional district.

The UMMA Clinic was established by Muslim medical students at UCLA who wanted to put their faith and their patriotism into action by serving their community and their country. UMMA is an acronym for the University Muslim Medical Association. In Arabic, the world ``umma'' means "community," an appropriate name for this extraordinary institution.

The students who founded UMMA were inspired by their Islamic faith, a faith which told them to help their neighbor, a faith which told them that if they saw something wrong, they must fix it. And today the UMMA Clinic is fixing people's lives with its healing hands, every day, quietly and tirelessly.

When the UMMA Clinic opened 10 years ago, it was the first charitable medical facility in the United States founded by Muslim Americans. At a time when Muslim Americans face unfair discrimination and scrutiny, the UMMA Clinic allows Muslims to put their faith into action through service, selflessness and compassion. The UMMA Clinic provides Muslim Americans with an institution in which they can take pride, one that enriches the community with services that save lives.

The UMMA Clinic serves as a primary health care source for over 15,000 children and adults in South Los Angeles, many of whom otherwise would have no access to primary health care services. It has a patient clientele from every conceivable faith, culture and background. Over 95 percent of the beneficiaries of UMMA's services are not Muslim.

UMMA takes a comprehensive approach to health care. At the UMMA Clinic, patients can see a regular family doctor who knows them and who cares about them. They can return again and again to the same family doctor who helps them stay one step ahead of illness by encouraging them to eat properly and live a healthy life-style and making certain they get all of their physicals, vaccinations, lab tests, mammograms and other health screenings.

The UMMA Clinic has received funding and support from several other organizations, including Kaiser Permanente, the California Endowment, and Islamic Relief.

UMMA has also become a committed advocate for the fundamental rights of all citizens to have access to quality health care services, regardless of their race, religion or socioeconomic status.

The UMMA Clinic is one of the many ways that Muslim Americans serve their country. Muslim Americans have made contributions in many different fields. They are our clerks and laborers, our doctors and lawyers, our teachers and researchers. They work in our government, and they serve honorably in our military.

UMMA represents the best of the Muslim American community. UMMA embodies high ethics and moral standards, and it was founded as a result of the obligation Muslim Americans feel to ensure the well-being of everyone in society. If you want to see what Muslim Americans truly represent, go to the UMMA Community Clinic in my district and you will see it there.

Charitable organizations like the UMMA Clinic cannot solve the Nation's health crisis alone, but their efforts are making an invaluable contribution by healing countless people who have been relegated to society's margins.

I am proud to congratulate the UMMA Community Clinic upon its 10th anniversary for the critical health services it provides to the medically underserved in Los Angeles. I salute the UMMA Community Clinic and all of the people who run it, and I salute the Muslim American community for making it possible.

I am honored to be joined in Washington today by several founders of the UMMA Community Clinic and other individuals who are affiliated with the UMMA Clinic. These individuals met with me today to discuss the work that they are doing at UMMA.

                Yasser Aman, Mansur Khan, Altaf Kazi, Rushdi Abdulcader,
                Nishi Abdulcader, Aisha Siddiq, Safia Siddiq, Raziya Shaikh, 
                Charles Sadler, Hoori Sadler, Ahmed Elbendary, Jill Elbendary, 
                Angela Coron, Mahdy Bray, and Diana Bonta.

I welcome these people to our nation's Capitol and I congratulate them for the founding of the UMMA Community Clinic and for their continuing commitment to provide quality health care to uninsured and impoverished families in my congressional district.

Click the link to watch the floor statement.