Browse Interviews

  • Collection: Arab Community in Cleveland
12 total

Isam al-Zaem interview, 04 April 2019

Isam al-Zaem is a Syrian. He arrived in Cleveland in 1974 and worked for many years as a pharmacist. Now he is retired. He is married and has one daughter. He is now active in CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) and the Islamic center in Parma. He is involved in interfaith dialogues to promote mutual understanding and build cultural and religious bridges between people. He urges fellow Americans to not rely only on media to learn about Islam, rather through close and direct connection…

Lena Aburaad interview, 22 March 2017

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 family to Cleveland in 1992 as a result of the First Gulf War. They chose Cleveland because her husband's brother was living in the city. Her father began a new newspaper called al-Bayan in Dubai. The challenges that Lena faced when she arrived in…

Fatemah Sammoor interview, 27 March 2017

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 has three daughters and one sons and many grandchildren all of them live in the city. She also has a sister and brother living in Cleveland and another brother in Chicago. She encourages her children to pursue education and keep up with the Arab…

Sayyid Sadiq interview, 13 August 2016

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 (Mississippi) in 1977 because of the Civil War in Lebanon. After graduation from the University of Mississippi with a BS degree, he worked for a while in Chicago in steel. Sayyid went back to Lebanon and then to Saudi Arabia. He came back to US in 1989 to…

Mohamadnur Hassan interview, 11 January 2017

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 this journey he learned number of languages. Currently He is living with his wife and two kids. As to preserve his culture, he tries to speak always Somali with his kids. He is a student at Cleveland State University. He likes living in Cleveland…

Mary Rose Oakar interview, 30 August 2016

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 (American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee) and stories of discrimination she witnessed against Arab Americans.

Irene and Michel Farah interview, 12 November 2016

Irene and Michel Farah are Palestinian Americans who came to Cleveland, which they love, in 1972 for medical training. Michel is a cardiologist studied at the American University of Beirut and Irene has a Master’s in French literature from Case University. The both from the city of Jerusalem, which, plays a significant role in their life and identity. They have two girls and two boys. Irene and Michel believe it is of great important to preserve their Arabic culture as well as the Palestinian…

Fadi Karim interview, 07 August 2016

Fadi Karim (or Abdulkarim) is a pathologist living in Shaker Heights since 1979. He is a Lebanese and grew up in the city of Beirut. He first studied at the American University Of Beirut. He has four children all of whom live now outside Cleveland.

Mary Harami interview, 02 July 2016

Mary Harami, wife of the late David Harami, speaks about her life growing up Palestinian of Armenian descent in Jerusalem and working in Jordan and Jerusalem, where she met her husband David, a Palestinian businessman. Mary explains life growing up during the British Mandate of Palestine and recalls becoming a refugee during the Arab-Israeli war. She also speaks about her time working for the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya which she remembers vividly.

Abdullah Mina interview, 07 June 2016

Abdullah (Abby) Mina, is a radio host for the Arabic program on Cleveland State University's WCSB 89.3. He has served as the past president of C.A.M.E.O. (Cleveland American Middle East Organization) for twelve years. Abby immigrated to America in 1956 to Richmond, VA and later migrated to Cleveland, OH after marriage to his wife, Mona. He proudly devoted his life in America helping to assimilate and assist Arab immigrants into American society.

Abdullah Almualem interview, 28 May 2016

Abdullah Almualem is the director of AACCESS-Ohio, an organization that at one time in Cleveland was thriving and helping Arab immigrants settle into the area. The organization is located on Cleveland's west side, near West 117th and Lorain Ave., an area designated by the city of Cleveland as 'Little Arabia'. Abdullah explains why he immigrated from Aleppo, Syria in 1994 to Cleveland and why he believes Aaccess to be integral to a prosperous immigrant population seeking to assimilate into…

Maurice Abood interview, 01 April 2016

Maurice Abood, Vice President of Aladdin's Baking Company, explains how the business came into being in Cleveland, OH as well as his immigration to Cleveland from, Aitaneet, a village in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. He details his transfer from working as a bartender at the local Sheraton hotel to establishing one of the most successful businesses in pita bread making and Lebanese cuisine in the heart of Cleveland.