Muslim family barred from seeing baby in hospital because they looked ‘scary’

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A Muslim family was not allowed to see a newborn relative in the hospital after staff told them they look ‘scary.’ The Zahr family went to Inova Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia last month to visit Ahmed Zahr’s newborn baby girl – but were humiliated and turned away instead. Family members said a hospital security guard threatened to kick them out. The Zahrs believe it was because Arwa Zahr, Ahmed’s sister, and her mother were wearing the niqab – which covers the head and face, leaving only the eyes showing.

‘He screams at me and he tells us, “You’re not allowed to be here” and then said “You know, you look scary,’”

The Zahrs were ordered to go back to the waiting room and when the baby’s father found out what happened, he found the guard and told him he was disrespectful.

The guard then called the shift supervisor and things escalated. ‘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 said. ‘He’s telling them, “Nobody wants you here. The nurses don’t want you. The doctors don’t want you here.’

The supervisor eventually called police who arrived at the hospital and registered formal complains with Inova. ‘Just to be treated like that just because of the way you’re dressed,’ Ahmed Zahr said.

The family has since dubbed the day when they were unable to meet Ahmed Zahr’s newborn baby girl ‘The Day of Mortification.’ More than one member of the Zahr family filed complaints with the hospital. The newborn girl’s mother was not identified.

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