Our Stories

Click portraits below to follow each individual’s journey.

Sabri Mohiuddin: The Meaning of Life

"Even now, I’m still not completely used to live in this country. But life is all about to change and how one can adapt to it. And if I want to make the most out of my life to help others, I’ll accept the challenge of living in America."

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Hassan El-Ghit: Opportunity

Hassan came to the U.S. with his mother and his sister when he was very young. In his story he describes his experience with prejudice, racism, and struggle. Through all of this, Hassan has refused to be a victim; the fear of failure does not stop him from striving to achieve his dreams. Blessings, Luck, […]

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Kyrah Simon: Open Up

Kyrah is a New York Times Bestselling Author and self-described “proud big-mouth black woman.” Her story illustrates her struggle to embrace her identity and pursue self-love. I identify as a proud big-mouth black woman. A strong statement, I know, but it is the only way I know to define the woman I have become. It […]

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Shazie Senen: A Twenty-Something Journey

"We were placed in a shelter cities away for victims of domestic violence where I met other mothers and children. We also began waiting in line at the local food banks to receive free food. We did not imagine a life like this having to struggle and fight for survival in a country so new to us."

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Nergis Khan: The Question

"I am proud to say that I am Muslim, my mom is Moroccan, my dad is Pakistani, and I am an American in the entire sense of the word because to be American is to be different."

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Raihan Kabir Khan: Journey in the Land of Opportunity

"I felt lonely and isolated when I first began my life in USA. Soon within several months, I started feeling the warmth and inclusiveness of US people around me who made me feel welcomed in this new country. I met people from so many different cultures and ethnicities in USA that I never met in my life back in Bangladesh."

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Tirsaay Ahmed: Prosperity Through Adversity

"My individuality is defined by the small moments of realization, the moments in my life where self-loathing transformed into self-love, hate became appreciation, and pain became strength."

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Nayab Khan: Wearing Islam

"Because I do not wear a headscarf, there is no clear reason to jump to any religious conclusions about me."

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Zena and Mena Nasiri: Making Space for Muslim Stories in the Library

At a young age, Zena and Mena Nasiri realized that their community libraries did not have books that represented Muslim Women. In an effort to change this, and to enrich other community libraries with books that focused on Muslim women in story, they founded Girls of the Crescent, a nonprofit organization that collects and distributes […]

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Reem Al-Ahmad: Third Culture Kid

"As a result, I crossed the Atlantic and integrated into American society. Now, I see my community as something mobile. A space not a place. It is connected more with the people rather than a specific geographical location."

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Hassan El-Ghit: Opportunity

"I wanted people to look at me as an example that not all people from the Middle East are hateful and violent people, that the thousands of immigrants like myself weren't corrupting American society but making it stronger and more beautiful. I also wanted to show my parents that all the struggles and hardships that they went through weren't in vain."

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Thierno Doumbouya: Mind of Mine

"I chose to hide my Islamic side because it was not accepted in my society. I started to realize that there was nothing wrong with me loving the side of myself that was born in a dynamic culture, spoke more than two languages or celebrated Ramadan because no matter how hard I tried to hide it from the public, it was the side of me I saw whenever I would look in a mirror."

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Eman Naga: Thorn In My Side

"It was that thought that led me to wear my hijab as a retaliation to their hate and not just as a representation of my faith. Now while that has changed now, the struggle I went through to try and validify myself to everyone and essentially, myself was agonizing."

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Kara Lozier: We Are a Global Family

Kara Lozier lives in Vermont and is the founder of ROYA – Resources of Young Afghans, through which she has been counseling, mentoring and supporting young Afghans in various ways. From 2006-2011, she served as a community coordinator for mostly Muslim exchange students from countries in Africa, Asia, Central Asia, Europe, and Eastern Europe. I […]

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Zoha Raza: Collateral Damage

Zoha is a recipent of the Fawaz Kannout Memorial Scholarship Fund. Awarded in conjunction with the MALA Scholarship Program, this Scholarship recognizes compassionate and ambitious individuals who are committed to strengthening and serving their communities through cultural engagement, inclusive discourse, and progressive thought.To learn more about MALA’s Scholarship Opportunities, click here. As I walked down […]

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Sarah Al Shahad: The War

Sarah is a recipient of the Fawaz Kannout Memorial Scholarship Fund. Given in conjunction with the MALA Scholarship Program, this scholarship recognizes compassionate and ambitious individuals who are committed to strengthening and serving their communities through cultural engagement, inclusive discourse, and progressive thought. To learn more about MALA’s Scholarship Opportunities, click here. Being in a […]

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News Updates


MALA Hosts Iftar at Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington D.C.

On May 29, 2019, MALA’s office in Washington, DC organized a joint Iftar Dinner with the Embassy of Azerbaijan to celebrate the month of Ramadan, freedom of religion, diversity, and inclusion. This event took place at the Embassy of Azerbaijan with the participation of 30 guests and included welcoming remarks by both the Embassy staff […]

Jun 18, 2019

Executive Director Zainab Khan Discusses Identity, Storytelling, and Empowerment in Interview with Salam Plan

JUNE 18, 2019 Last week, MALA’s Executive Director, Zainab Khan sat down with Maria Torrens of Salam Plan to discuss MALA’s work in storytelling, and her own unique perspective on identity and empowerment in America’s Muslim communities and beyond. When asked about her Muslim identity, Khan responds, “I don’t just want to be known as […]

Jun 18, 2019

MALA Co-Founder, Emil Aldaddah Receives Prestigious Award for Community Leadership

MAY 10, 2019 This week, one of MALA’s Co-Founders, Emil Aldaddah, was presented with the Chicago Cultural Alliance’s award for Outstanding Community Leadership. Emil’s work to advocate for, and construct important resources in Chicago’s Muslim American communities is inpiring, and this award is much-deserved. The award was presented at the CCA’s annual MOSAIC Gala; other […]

May 13, 2019
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