August, 2021 –– It is definitely hard enough to make it out of a refugee camp, but to become successful in another country, this is definitely a one of a kind story of sheer determination and resolve.
Born in Gaza Strip in Palestine, Anwar Faisal is the third of six siblings. The Gaza Strip has long been a very dangerous, unstable, and poor area with lots of political conflicts and diplomatic strife between Palestine and Israel. Faisal always had big dreams for his future and realized that good education would play a key part in helping him achieve these goals.
Anwar graduated from high school in Gaza and went to Egypt in the early 70s to study at Ain Shams University, located in Cairo. After graduating, Faisal headed to Saudi Arabia to work in the construction industry.
“I was helping people with tiling, plastering, and carpentry services as a mercenary. I worked there for one year and was paid the minimum wage,” Anwar Faisal recalled.
“The situation in this country was getting worse. I couldn’t even get a driver’s license and residency. I decided to move to UAE, Abu Dhabi, where I started my job as a purchase manager (steel, concrete) in a big company named “Kortoba”,” Faisal added.
Faisal’s pursuit of higher education and determination to succeed led him to the U.S. to get a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Business Management. He studied English at Boston University for six months but had to put a halt on his dream due to financial concerns.
“I had to work security at BU, at first part-time. Then, I finally got a full-time job which qualified me to have tuition remission (free tuition),” Faisal said.
Qualifying for free tuition at a well-known university in Boston was a big relief for Anwar who was making $4.70 per hour while working 80 hours a week.
After completing his master’s degree, his adviser, Prof. George Gitter, recommended him for a Ph.D.
“During that summer of 1983, I was working two jobs: security and real estate. My Professor discovered that I would be do better in real estate than working on my Ph.D. and he withdrew his recommendation letter for the Ph.D. after 3 months,” Faisal said.
“Professor Gitter noticed that it would be better for my future to continue doing real estate instead of wasting 4 years on a Ph.D program. I believe Professor Gitter had a good vision for his students,” Faisal continued.
In 1984, Anwar Faisal was already heavily involved in the real estate industry and was currently living at an apartment on Queensberry St. After finding an envelope one day informing him that buildings 56 to 58would be converted to condominiums, he was given the opportunity to purchase it at the cost of $59,900. This was his first purchase, a one bedroom, 590 sq.ft apartment.
Anwar Faisal continued mastering his crafts in real estate partnering with other people and investing in more properties even after the real estate disaster in 1987 when the interest rate was at 11% and inflation was high. Over the years, Faisal ended up working independently. He started working alone and made sure to manage his finances wisely so he was able to continue buying units from auctions. After 10 years, he was advised by one of his bankers to step up and start buying buildings instead of apartment units.
“I believe this is the best advice I had received after Dr. Gitter’s advice. I started buying buildings aggressively (all the rental units), I was very lucky to get a big project in Fenway with 201 units. It was a “grand slam” or home run for me,” Faisal shared.
Currently Anwar Faisal owns thousands of units in the Greater Boston Area. His success in the real estate industry provided him the means to help other people by giving one-third of his income to various charities. He also developed two mosques in Brighton for the Islamic community.
“I really wanted to help the poor people in Gaza Strip where I was born by performing some acts of compassion and kindness. I was supporting a hundred families and students, handicapped and disabled persons and orphans until this time increased to 1000 families who are getting help from me on monthly basis (paying for food, medicine, and rent) as well as students getting the scholarship, which is increasing each semester. Also, I decided to build a hospital in Gaza,” he said.
Anwar Faisal is also a sponsor of The Boston Islamic Seminary and The Palestinian Cultural Center of Peace as well as an active sponsor and supporter of all the mosques and Islamic schools and hospitals annually at St. John’s Hospital and another hospital in Israel. Anwar Faisal is also the co-founder of Yusuf Mosque in Brighton.
As a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, Anwar Faisal’s contribution to the community here and abroad is a success story we hope others would emulate.
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