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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

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ORAL HISTORY

Sayed Ali


Aroma

Sayed Ali, born in 1949, is originally from Pakistan. He moved to the United States to get a master’s in Business administration from California State University in 1978 and returned to Pakistan after receiving his degree. He and his wife moved to the United States for the second time in 2005. Finding work in California was difficult, so he moved to Bentonville, Arkansas, in 2008 to be closer to his daughter, who worked for Walmart.

When he moved to Northwest Arkansas, it was difficult to find halal meat. Ali raised goats and lamb for halal slaughter on his farm in Avoca, Arkansas. He sold the farm and opened up his restaurant, Aroma, in 2008. Ali and his wife, Sughra, prepare and sell dishes like fresh roti, lamb chops, and biryani. Their menu is fully halal. Ali is involved in the local Muslim community in Northwest Arkansas, and Aroma often provides food during religious holidays.

Date of interview:
2019-04-10

Interviewer:
Annemarie Anderson

Photographer:
Brian Chilson

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