Arab Community in Cleveland

These interviews comprise stories from the Arab American community in Cleveland. The educational, political, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds of the interviewees are diverse in scope and shed light into the unique contributions Arabs have made to their local communities since immigrating to Cleveland dating from the 1950s onward. Interviews were conducted by Dr. Abed Tayyara, associate professor of Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies and director of Middle Eastern Studies at CSU and Ms. Rania Assily, assistant professor of History at Tri-C.


Lena Aburaad is a Palestinian and works as an Arabic instructor at CSU. She graduated from CSU with a B.A. in Speech and Hearing and a Master in Education. She was born in Amman and grew up in the UAE. She has 2 girls and 2 boys. She came with her…

Fatemah Sammoor was born in Ramallah and moved to Cleveland when she married at the age of 17. She has been living in Cleveland for 47 years. Her husband came to Cleveland at the age of 25 because some of his cousins used to live in the city. Fatemah…

Sayyid Sadiq was born in northern Lebanon in the area of Batron where family worked in agriculture. He has three brothers and one sister. He owns a gas station in Berea. His grandfather was a brick layer in Cleveland. He came first to the US…

Alia Almashni was born in Puerto Rico to a Palestinian family. Her parents came to Puerto Rico in 1972 after 1967 war. She has two brothers and two sisters and also two daughters. She went to Palestine when she was 11 years old. Alia works at the…

Mohamadnur Hassan was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. As a result of the civil war, he moved to live in Kenya before coming to the United States in 2007. He lived for 6 years in California before moving to Cleveland due to high cost of living. Through…

Mary Rose Oakar, the first Democratic female to be elected into Congress from Ohio, details her family and life events. She discusses her upbringing growing up in Ohio City and her work in Congress. She also details her work with the ADC…