Assisted living provider accused of converting Muslim resident to Christianity

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A Texas assisted living facility is in hot water over allegations that its staff members took a Muslim resident to a church and had him converted to Christianity, according to a report published by Courthouse News Service.

Staff members at Heritage Square in Fort Worth, TX, allegedly took resident Ahmed Jabbar Al Ghazawi — who was known to be a practicing Muslim — to a Christian church in 2015 and had him converted to Christianity, Courthouse News Service reports. A representative for Ghazawi filed a lawsuit against WGH Hertiage Inc., which operates Heritage Square, on Nov. 20 in Tarrant County Court.

In addition to claims that the staff converted Ghazawi to Christianity, the lawsuit alleges the facility discharged Ghazawi in 2013 to a drug rehab facility that wasn't equipped to meet his medical needs. Ghazawi was born deaf and blind and has multiple sclerosis in addition to other handicaps, the report states. Heritage Square specializes in assisted living for deaf people.

“[The discharge] was in violation of Texas law, which requires the transfer of a patient to a facility that can provide appropriate care to that patient. No interpreter was provided to Ahmed while he was at that facility, and he felt physically threatened by other residents there, who had violent criminal records," the complaint reads. "Because he felt abandoned and confused, Ahmed attempted to flee that facility and was then transferred to a rehab center, where he was locked up with Alzheimer patients and unable to leave the locked ward or communicate with the outside world by videophone."

The lawsuit also claims Heritage Square staff accused Ghazawi of sexual assault, sent him to the emergency room when it wasn't medically necessary and cut off his phone line in the last week of his stay, Courthouse News Service reports.

Jeff Bryant, president of Phoenix Health Resources Inc. which manages Heritage Square along with WGH Heritage, told McKnight's his company was unaware of the recently filed suit but had dealt with Ghazawi's representative in the past.

Past state investigations of the facility spurred by claims made by that representative had “not substantiated anything,” Bryant said. He added that the recent lawsuit is a “misdirected and frivolous action” against his facility.

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