Our Stories

Click portraits below to follow each individual’s journey.

Mohammadou Habib Abdul Abbas Diagne: Being Labeled As A Threat

"It was definitely a point when I began to experience not being in a fully immersed Muslim culture, or not being around the influence of my Dad. That's the first time I started eating bacon, and you know, kind of pushing the envelope and exploring what it meant to not be in that immersive environment."

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Kendyl Noor Aurora: Nurturing Connection Through Differences

"We’ve created a lot of titles and labels that have built barriers around ourselves as individuals and our Muslim community as a whole. There were a few years after reverting where I felt stuck in an awkward place, like none of the various pieces of my life fit together quite right."

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Aya Razzaz: A Piece of America That Makes Me Proud

"So that's ideally what I would like to be doing because I feel like because I'm half-American I owe it to myself to learn more about this country."

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Behnaz Shafiei: Iranian Motocross Rider in the USA

"My efforts changed Iranian law to allow females to participate in motor racing and I am currently the only Iranian woman to hold a motorcycle racing permit."

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Sahar Mohammadzadeh: Hearing Diversity by Listening to Hidden Voices

“If humanity is to be humble and respectful of different perspectives, if humanity is to bask in the breadth of experience, then humanity must be classified the universal race, regardless of the religion or culture that accompanies it.”

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Nazida Syed: Starting Over, Fighting for Change

"I want to make ways for women like myself who have been victims of domestic violence to be able to get back on their own feet, take control of their lives, and their images, their reputations in society, so they will never be looked down upon for leaving an abusive marriage."

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Tahany Yassin: Launching ChiTown Photography

"I still continue learning because there is always room to grow. There are so many different techniques and effects a photographer can create with the vision they have set in their mind."

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Sameena Mustafa: Taking My Seat at the Table

"After one of my shows, an Israeli woman approached me in tears saying how much my performance moved her. Art could bring people together."

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Suraiya Rahman: Celebrate & Include Cultural Muslims

"I lost my personal faith, but not my heritage. Being a Muslim is more than just the god you pray to. It is identity, ritual, history, and culture. I have not lost any of those things."

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Sunny Akomu Akhigbe: A Boy and His Dream

"A few weeks after I was born I was bundled from the city and then my mother, myself, and everything that she had was left behind in the city."

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Barakat Olorunoje: No Limits As A Woman

"My journey begins at a younger age when I realized that I had a lot to my identity. My parents are originally from Nigeria and I was born in America, which already gave me two types of identities."

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Salah Al-Mejri: From Tunisia to America- My Journey In The NBA

“There are many lessons to be learned from NBA players, but perhaps the most valuable is not only to enjoy what you’re doing, but to celebrate the fact that you have the chance to do it to begin with.”

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Stephanie Yousif: Growing Up Assyrian

"Also, the identity of Assyrians is controversial. I feel like if I was born in Iraq, but was an Assyrian I still would identify as an Iraqi."

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Zarina Baber: Giving Back Where Needed

"I collaborated with the Muslim physician community and various health care organizations and founded Al'Shifa free clinic in 1996. It is a part time volunteer based free clinic that serves the under-served and is open to anyone wanting to seek help."

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Albert Pak: Cultivating Passion To Improve Humanity

"Pretty much ever since I was little I was always into drawing. When I was back in Uzbekistan I went to an art academy. When I was little, my dream was to become a doctor, but then I figured out that I like computers more."

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Hira Umer: Baking Towards A Breakthrough

"Cultural taboo and judgmental people aside, I focused just on my son and my business. Having a new business is challenging, being a single mom is challenging, combine the two and you have double the challenges."

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News Updates


Celebrate Peace and Light during Ramadan with MALA

Regardless of your faith, gender, or origin, MALA welcomes you to join the celebration of Ramadan. Help us spread a message of hope, diversity, and inclusion in America, a nation born out of pluralism.

May 26, 2017

MALA Presents Zeshan B’s Album Release In Chicago

On April 10th, 2017, MALA sponsored and hosted Zeshan B's Album Release with a live concert at Untitled Chicago.

May 18, 2017

MALA NYC Iftar at Kurry Qulture on June 1st

Join us for Iftar this Ramadan on June 1st from 7-10pm at NYC's Kurry Qulture, winner of the 2017 Diner's Choice Award and featured in 2017's Michelin Guide. Special thanks to GroupRaise for supporting our organization!

May 15, 2017
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