Muslim family barred from visiting newborn in hospital because they looked ‘scary’

25th Jan 2019
Muslim family barred from visiting newborn in hospital because they looked ‘scary’

 Inova Fair Oaks Hospital (Photo: Google map)

Elham Asaad Buaras

A Muslim family visiting a newborn baby in a hospital in Virginia earlier this month say they were barred from seeing her because they looked “scary”.

The newborn girl’s grandparent and aunt say the security staff at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital even called the police after ordering them out of the labour ward into the waiting room for no reason other not being welcomed by staff and looking “scary”.

The baby’s aunt, Arwa Zahr, told NBC 4, she, her mother Karima Zohdi, who both wear the niqab, and her father Dr Nabil Zahr were all confronted by a security guard who “screamed” at them: “‘You are not allowed to be here’ and then said, ‘You know, you look scary’.”

But when the baby’s father, Ahmed Zahr, found out what had happened, he confronted the security guard and told him he was disrespectful.

The guard then summoned the shift supervisor who “looked at my mother as she was trying to explain what happened, and he told her, ‘Close your mouth or I’ll kick you out.’

He’s telling them, ‘Nobody wants you here. The nurses don’t want you. The doctors don’t want you here,’” Ahmed said.  As Ahmed continued to defend his family, he claims the supervisor called the police whom the family spoke with before leaving the hospital. Ahmed Zahr says he has never experienced abuse like it before and says it is even more hurtful because the baby’s grandparents, were volunteer chaplains at the neighbouring hospital with strong links to Inova Fair Oaks.

In a statement, Inova Fair Oaks Hospital said: “We are reviewing the family’s concerns and we continue to look for opportunities to better manage these situations in the future,” and extended “an invitation to meet in person.”

The family say they are not interested in a meeting until the hospital gives them an update of what action has been taken and whether an investigation has been conducted into the incident.

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