Dr. Said lives his novel

By DAVE HENDRICKSON, Daily News Writer
November 25, 1981

When Dr. Mohammed Said was in high school, he wrote a fiction novel about himself and titled it “Abu-Hassan.” Abu-Hassan pictured Said as a young man traveling all over the world and doctoring to the poor who are not capable of affording sufficient medical attention.

“I’m trying to follow those footsteps that I wrote about in my novel,” said Said.

Doctor Said was born in Haifa, Palestine. In 1947 his family had to flee the West Bank of Jordan when the state of Israel was formed. Again in 1967 they had to flee to the East Bank of Jordan. His aunt who raised him, and his sister, Fihmya, live 30 miles north of Jerusalem today.

Said taught elementary school in Amman, Jordan and Saudi Arabia before he began his studies in medicine.

“I chose to study in Granada, Spain, for it has the Moorish-Arabic culture still. The Spanish conquered Granada from the Moors in 1492, the same year Columbus discovered America,” Said said.
After completing school in Granada, Said earned his Ph.D. at the University of Madrid in preventive medicine. specialization in internal medicine.

In 1973 Said immigrated to Ottawa, Canada where his brother was residing.

Said obtained his license to practice medicine in the United States in 1974. “I chose to practice in North Dakota because it was one of the few states that didn’t require a visa or citizenship document,” he said.

While Said was taking his exams in Bismarck, Shelly Jeanette, a physician recruit from Medina convinced Said to start his practice in Carrington. “I arrived there on Frontier Day. It was fascinating. I had heard about the Western style and had seen movies about cowboys. I liked the people so I decided to stay,” added Said.

Even while living in North Dakota, Said still traced the footprints of his life that he predestined in his novel. “I have been involved in social and political organizations. I am one of the founders of the Islamic Medical Association of the United States, and I founded the Islamic Medical Association in Europe. This organization helps poor countries in Africa and Asia, but we do help other individuals that are not Islamic also,” stated Said.

In 1976 Said joined the North Dakota Trade Mission headed by Arthur Link, the N.D. governor at the time, and Attorney Allen Olson.

“We visited Egypt and Jordan on the mission. While in Jordan I visited with my wife, Nadia’s family. I asked for her hand and we were married in three days,” said Said.

Said stayed in the Middle East for a short time. “1 met with King Khalad of Saudi Arabia regarding the Arab community in U.S.A.”

Said’s missions have taken him to Iran twice. “When the hostages were in Iran I went there to help defuse the crisis. I spent three weeks there and asked them to allow the American doctors to examine the hostages,” he said.

This June, Said went back to Iran to aid the earthquake victims. ‘I was invited by the chairman of the Red Crescent, which is an equivalent to the Red Cross. While There, I got caught in their civil war. The friend I was to meet had disappeared, but now is safe in the United States,” he said.

Before returning to the states, Said traveled to Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Spain. ‘I became an American citizen in spring, but I still plan to go back and work in Palestine and other poverty-stricken areas and provide medical help on a temporary basis. I will keep America as my home base, however. As long as my future here doesn’t conflict with my help overseas. I will stay here.’ Said said.

Said is very dedicated to his practice, but finds time to enjoy activities with his family.
“Most of the time is spent with medical practice. As you know a doctor is like a priest – he must be available at all times. I like reading the National Geographic and Christian Science, and I like listening to Anne Murray.’ said Said, explaining his entertainment pleasures.

Although Said is many miles form his homeland, he feels at ease. “I am very happy being a U.S. citizen. America is a land of immigrants and I feel I can contribute in my way through my heritage and culture without melting into the Anglo-Saxon melting pot,” he said.

The Saids have three children. Yasser, Noor Falasteen (Meaning light of Palestine), and Hashem (holy name).

“Every year we visit Syria so the children will not forget the Arabic culture. They are not encouraged to speak English at home so they will not also forget the language.” mentioned Said.

“It has been my dream in my life to help overcome racial, language, and nationality differences in the world,” Said said.

Said’s blueprint of his life he wrote as a teenager has been amazingly followed by him, hut he does not intend to live up to the final chapter of his novel.

“At the end of my story, the hero dies tragically in some underdeveloped country,” he said.

Medical Background


Listen to Dr. Said talk about his medical background (audio unedited and may contain mistakes).

Medical background Part 1: 13 mins, 21 sec

Medical background Part 2: 1 hr


Download Dr. Said’s resumé (pdf)

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