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American-Muslim Physicians Home Safe from Journey to Gaza; Medical Care to Civilians, Support to Palestinian Colleagues



Images of 4 IMANA doctors in front of the I "heart" Gaza sign.

IMANA Doctors Arrive in Gaza

An IMANA doctor at the bedside of a young male patient.

Dr. Shariq Sayeed with 11 year old double amputee, Yassin.

Four IMANA doctors risked their safety in Gaza, providing vital medical aid amid bombings. Safely back in the US, they share their courageous journey.

This mission represents the essence of compassion in action. Entering the hospital, the environment is challenging yet filled with a resilient spirit.”
— Dr. Ismail Mehr
FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES, April 29, 2024 / -- Four humanitarian-minded medical doctors, members of the nonprofit Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) have safely returned to the United States following an intense journey to southern Gaza. As bombings and attacks continued, these physicians put their own safety aside to provide critical medical care to thousands of maimed, burned, and traumatized men, women, and children of the Israeli-Hamas conflict.

Their stories are vast, varied and seem inconceivable. Yassin is an 11-year old boy who lost both legs in a blast. The IMANA team tended to his wounds and then referred to a partner organization to get permission for Yassin to be evacuated from Gaza to fly to Atlanta, Georgia, to receive prosthetics.

“The sheer volume of patients and penetrating injuries is simply indescribable. The limitations in manpower, equipment, and supplies also compound the current dire situation. The injuries being treated are both physically and emotionally taxing. From blast injuries to acute illnesses exacerbated by the acute shortage of essential medicines, each case presents a new challenge. The resilience of the local medical staff and many local volunteers is beyond description. They have been constantly working for the past 200 hundred days with no break,” said Dr. Shariq Sayeed.

The IMANA team:
Dr. Ismail Mehr (Hornell, NY) is an anesthesiologist who has participated in 36 medical missions globally. He serves as chair of IMANA Medical Relief. The program has provided treatment to over 4.1 million patients in 40 countries.

Dr. Kanwal Chaudhry (New York, NY) specializes in emergency medicine and pediatrics. She has embarked on 21 missions with IMANA.

Dr. Azeem Elahi (Concord, NC) specializes in pulmonary and critical care. Committed to global health care for the underserved, he has been to six nations to provide care.

Dr. Shariq Sayeed (Marietta, GA) is board certified in vascular surgery. This is his fifth medical mission.

Humanitarian work is nothing new to these medical specialists. They volunteer their time and talent to provide care to victims of war and natural disasters around the globe. On this mission, they also provided critical support to Palestinian medical professionals who individually treat hundreds of victims every day.

IMANA has also sent more than the physicians to Gaza:
35 tons of medications and medical supplies
53 tons of food items
41 tons of flour

“Thanks to incredible generosity from donors and partners, IMANA continues to send much more to Gaza. We have several teams of doctors preparing for trips and many more tons of medicines and supplies to ship”, said IMANA Executive Director Nida Saleem. “IMANA is so proud of all of our volunteer doctors and dentists who sacrifice so much to take these trips - family, careers, and personal safety.”

“Emergency Medicine is unpredictable, but nothing could have prepared me for what we saw in Gaza. However, the gratitude of the people and the impact of the care we provided will leave a lasting impression. This trip was unique in so many ways, profound, and remarkable - I’m glad that I was a part of it. I have a lifetime’s worth of stories and I can’t wait to share them”, said Dr. Kanwal Chaudhry.

"This mission represents the essence of compassion in action. Entering the hospital, the environment is challenging yet filled with a resilient spirit”, said Dr. Ismail Mehr. “While supplies are scarce, we're grateful for the support that enables us to provide care under such circumstances."

"Our mission may be ending, but its impact will endure,” said Dr. Azeem Elahi. “ From saving lives to spreading joy, each moment reaffirms the importance of our work in bringing comfort and relief to those in need. Additionally, our efforts extend beyond immediate care; we prioritize training and education, empowering local professionals to continue providing essential services long after we depart. It's moments like these that drive us to keep going, no matter the challenges."

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To schedule an interview with a doctor or with IMANA Executive Director Nida Saleem, please contact Nida at, 317-600-4191. Interviews available via Zoom, in person, or on the phone.

For more stories from the medical team, please visit or @imanacares on Facebook.

Nida Saleem
Islamic Medical Association of North America
+1 317-600-4191
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A Farewell from Gaza