Bernardino, California that provides care to patients regardless of their income, social background, religion, race or ethnicity.
Patel who is a devout Muslim, sees his mission to help people in need as a duty, he said. “In my faith, medicine is a noble profession,” he added. “So serving the community is one of the noble things to do.”
Patel, 57, earned recognition from the city in late 2014 for his service when he received a Riverside Heroes Award.
He has been very active in his community especially as he saw a sharp rise in anti-Muslim sentiment after the 9/11 terrorist attacks - he spearheaded several efforts to connect the Muslim community with Riverside, and established the Open Mosque Day event, inviting the public to visit and learn about Islam.
He also helped to establish the annual Ramadan Iftar dinner in Riverside, an event that brings residents from various faiths and walks of life together.
“This man has really tried to demonstrate to everyone he has come across what the meaning of being a good Muslim is,” Zaki said. “He does so with his generosity.
Patel’s nonprofit dental clinic is closest to his heart. Patel said in 1999, a group of Muslims started a nonprofit medical clinic in the unincorporated area of Muscoy. In 2004, Patel opened a dental office there.
“I’ve always wanted to do this,” he said. “I came here and saw lots of people who come to my dental office with no insurance. I was looking for a good opportunity. I’ve always wanted to give back to the community.”
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