With more years in Detroit than most folks born here—thirty-seven to be exact—urologist Riad Farah should hardly be considered an immigrant.  Yet, the Mt. Carmel doctor speaks with pride about his birth in Nazareth, and recounts his harrowing early life as a refugee, forced from his homeland during the 1948 United nation-mandated partition of Palestine and ultimate settlement in Syria, where he attended medical school—the only medical school in the world that teaches in Arabic.

Partly a result of his failure to learn English early, Dr. Farah admits that his decision to set up practice in the United States was difficult.  “The hardest thing for me was to express my medical opinions precisely.  I found that throughout this period, I had to learn English from my patients!”

Lifestyle adjustments were also part of Dr. Farah’s initiation into the United States.  “I was used to the Middle Eastern habit of taking a prolonged break in the midday, then returning to work until eight or nine in the evening.  Here, of course, lunches are often worked through, or taken at the desk in the middle of other concerns.”

Though his accent is still somewhat pronounced, Dr. Farah is clearly an American, through and through.  He claims proudly that his American passport is the only one he’s ever owned:  “When I was young, Palestine didn’t exist as a country.  And at any rate, my homeland will always be where my home is… here.”

A proud member of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church in Livonia, Dr. Farah is as passionate about religion as he is about his remarkable career at the hospital.




Russell Ebeid

Flavors or the Arab World December 2nd at the Rock Financial Shwplace,
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