Where are you from?

Damascus, Syria. I have been in Cleveland since 1974. But came to Chicago first in 1971.

What was it like growing up?

Financially middle class, socially very active happy childhood.

What brought you to Cleveland?

By accident. A cousin whom I have not seen for years and was in Cleveland for few years to start a Brazilian company, invited me to visit for a weekend. Since I was looking for a place to intern as a Medical Technologist, I applied for different hospitals including the Cleveland Clinic where I was accepted. There I met my future wife and as they say the rest is history!

What were your first thoughts about coming to America? Did those change?

Land of Plenty. Lots of freedom and opportunities. Some thoughts have partially changed particularly after 9/11 and the PATRIOT ACT!

What challenges did you face as an immigrant transitioning here?

Dealing in the early few months of my coming to the USA, with the cultural differences and the financial challenges.

What is your occupation?

Medical Technologist. Worked in laboratory medicine and transplant services.

How have other Clevelanders made you feel welcomed?

Yes for the most part. I consider Cleveland my hometown.

What traditions or customs do you continue to practice?

I was born Muslim. I did not practice my faith when I was younger, but I consider myself now as a practicing Muslim, where I feel that Cleveland is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds.

What do you love about Cleveland?

  • Cavaliers! for one..It is about time!
  • I love being in a mid size major city where commuting through traffic does not consume half of your life.
  • The cost of living, particularly housing, is one of the lowest in the Nation.
  • Lake Erie as a source of great Walleye fishing in the summer, besides, we hope we will never run out of clean fresh water for many years to come.
  • The Emerald Necklace Metro Park within close proximity.
  • The world’s renowned medical institutions.
  • The City Club of Cleveland, the citadel of free speech for over 100 years.
  • The Cleveland Orchestra.
  • Cleveland’s welcoming people.
  • It is HOME!
  • And a lot more!

What is your favorite thing to do in Cleveland?

Living and being active in the civil rights, civic and religious leaders in the city.

What is the best thing about living in Cleveland?

Hard to choose. Pick any from the above of which I love about Cleveland.

Why is Global Cleveland a great resource?

Global Cleveland can possibly fill in the gap that is needed to help new immigrants due to the short assistance that some get from the federal government.

Why is it so important to welcome immigrants and refugees?

Immigrants are the new blood that rejuvenates the business and economy of the city.

What suggestions do you have to make Cleveland a more welcoming community?

Support the new comers by providing more funds for organizations that help new immigrants settle down and get them standing on there feet the first few months of there presence.