A Muslim family went to a hospital in Northern Virginia to celebrate the birth of a newborn baby. But after seeing them dressed in fundamentalist Islamic attire, they say hospital staff humiliated them by telling them they looked “scary,” and threatened to kick them out.
NBC (h/t TherezaB) Visiting hours were nearly over when the Zahr family went to Inova Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia, in early December. They wanted to visit Ahmed Zahr’s newborn baby. When they got up to the third-floor birthing center, they were confronted by a security guard, Arwa Zahr, the newborn’s aunt, said in an exclusive interview with News4.
“He screams and he says, ‘You’re not allowed to be here!’ And then he said, ‘You know, you look scary,'” she recalled. “I was shocked, like, ‘Did he say that?'”
The Zahrs believe the guard was objecting to the full black veils Arwa Zahr and her mother wore, showing only their eyes. The family was ordered to go back downstairs. When the newborn’s father learned what happened, he told the guard he had been disrespectful.
The guard summoned the shift supervisor, whom the family identified as the head nurse, and things got worse, the family said.
“We tried to explain to [the supervisor] our side of the story. He 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,'” Ahmed Zahr recalled.
The family said that wasn’t all. “He’s telling them, ‘Nobody wants you here. The nurses don’t want you. The doctors don’t want you here,'” Ahmed Zahr said.
As he continued to defend his family, the supervisor called police. “It was surprising to me. First of all, we weren’t threatening in any way. No one had done anything,” Ahmed Zahr said, and “his family had never encountered such abuse.”
“Just to be treated like that just because of the way you’re dressed,” he said. “We’re been living here for, you know, 20-plus years. I haven’t witnessed discrimination to this extent.” (That in itself is shocking. Why the hell not?)
The Zahr family calls the day they visited the hospital for the birth of a baby “The Day of Mortification.” They didn’t get to meet Ahmed Zahr’s first child, a baby girl, that day.
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