• Local imam chaplain says Osceola hospital discriminating against him


    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Only Channel 9 spoke to local imam who said he's the target of discrimination at a central Florida hospital.

    Imam Abu Farah said he wants to volunteer as a chaplain at Osceola Regional Medical Center but claims he's become a victim of discrimination instead, so he's planning to sue the hospital.

    Farah said he takes great pride in his work as a chaplain at Florida Hospital, where he says he was welcomed with open arms.

    "I was immediately given an application, filled it, and I was given an ID card. Done," he said.

    But he said it's been just the opposite at Osceola Regional.

    Farah is the head of a local Islamic center and has been trying to volunteer as a chaplain at the hospital for more than a year, but said he was told they didn't have a program, even though their website states a chaplain is always on call.

    "I was lost for words," he said. "I did not understand."

    Farah also claims the hospital has ignored his repeated requests for more information.

    Farah's group, the American-Muslim Youth Leadership Council, held a meeting with dozens of law enforcement and community leaders to discuss ways they can work together. He said Osceola Regional was invited, but no one from the hospital showed up, so he wanted to get his message to them through Channel 9.

    "Maybe you can help me find an answer to this question; Why are we not allowed to offer spiritual care to American-Muslim patients?" Farah asked.

    Farah said he eventually heard from someone who runs the chaplaincy program at the hospital. He told Channel 9 they told him in order to qualify for the program that he'd be required to attend Bible study classes to become qualified.

    The hospital has yet to respond to the allegations.

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