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Doctor Plans to Launch Chicago-Area Surgery Center That Follows Islamic Law

"We recognize that a health care facility that is fully compliant with Shariah law would likely violate a number of state and federal laws."

Dr. Naser Rustom has big plans for a $5.5 million medical facility in Orland Park, Illinois. The establishment will be a groundbreaking first -- an outpatient surgery center that caters to Muslims, explicitly abiding by Islamic law. Already known in the community, Rustom owns a Middle Eastern restaurant called Alhambra Palace, a business he opened in 2007.

The plan is to create a medical center that offers believers the opportunity to seek care, while also remaining true to the Islamic faith, Crain's Chicago Business reports. In addition to elevated patient privacy, the proposed clinic would also offer up space for prayer and ritual washing, among other elements pertaining to Islamic law.

But, as TheBlaze has explored, there are multiple interpretations of shariah, with some patently more restrictive than others. So, which ones will be embraced in this case?

It's likely that Ruton will be careful in managing how the clinic handles the separation of the sexes, for instance, as Crain's notes, a segregation that is too explicit could spell problems with state and federal law. In an e-mail interview with Crain's, Robyn Fina, the manager for the doctor's new project, noted that the clinic will not be fully shariah-compliant, claiming that segregation between the sexes will be "at a modest level."

"We recognize that a health care facility that is fully compliant with Shariah law would likely violate a number of state and federal laws," wrote Fina in an e-mail to the outlet.

While there's no doubt that some critics will be surprised by the surgery center's intentions, patients of all backgrounds will be welcome. Crain's has more:

Services would include gastroenterology, general surgery and treatment for pain management, the application says. The facilities board must approve the project.

Patients of all religious and cultural backgrounds will be treated at the center, which will not be different from other surgery centers except “to the trained eye,” the application says.

An internist, Rustom graduated from the University of Damascus in Syria in 1984; later, he came to America and  completed his residency at Cook County Hospital in Cook County, Illinois.

His interest in launching a Muslim-friendly surgery center is rooted in major growth among Islamic adherents residing in the Chicago area. Considering that believers sometimes avoid treatment in America due to perceived conflicts with their faith, Rustom believes he can fill a niche void.

For more about the surgery center, read the full report over on Crain's Chicago Business. The application for a permit to operate can also be read here.

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