Our Stories

Click portraits below to follow each individual’s journey.

Sohib Boundaoui Slipping Through the Cracks of Identity
Sohib Boundaoui: Slipping Through the Cracks of Identity

Sohib Boundaoui’s insight into the mind of a child of immigrants is both encouraging and eye-opening. Not only does he describe the trouble with rigid conservative cultural values and their implications, but he also offers a tangible solution.     I was born in Chicago, and I was born in a neighborhood called Bridgeview. Bridgeview […]

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Pious Ali: Using Faith as a Tool for Empowerment

"In the place where I grew up in Ghana, Muslims lived together with Christians (we did not have many Jews in that area) and we talked to each other. Whenever one would have a holy celebration, we would eat with each other, and participate in each other’s events. So, I decided to use what I have, which is my faith, to reach out to other people in the community."

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Yaasha Abraham Calling On My Tribe
Yaasha Abraham: Calling On My Tribe

Yaasha Abraham talks about the way she reconciles strict religious ideas with the way she expresses herself artistically. She illustrates how much of an influence her religion plays in her understanding of the world and her individual art.   My name is Yaasha. I was not raised Muslim. I am what people now call a […]

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Muna Khalif Designing to Empower
Muna Khalif: Designing to Empower

"As a First-generation Somali-American designer and activist, my goal was to usher in a new era of women’s fashion. It became quite apparent to me that it was difficult to find clothes that were seasonally on trend and that met religious and cultural requirements in an industry that already lacked representation."

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Amal Hagisufi Shattering Traditional Norms
Amal Hagisufi: Shattering Traditional Norms

"My upbringing as a Muslim woman in a western country meant that I was going to have to come to terms with the duality of my identity."

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Ameer Khan I Can Be Holy and Queer
Ameer Khan: I Can Be Holy and Queer

"Upon introspection, my own identity was intersectional, having an immigrant family, being from the LGBT community, and being Muslim."

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Al-Husein Madhany What’s in a Name
Al-Husein Madhany: What’s in a Name?

"That familiar exchange had been a fixture in my life from the time of the first Gulf War until Election Day 2008. Muslims had become the scary “other” for most Americans, but we existed in the popular imagination as inhabitants of that gray part of the globe beyond, say, France."

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Narimon Safavi
Narimon Safavi: To Chicago, From Tehran

"I was born in Tehran, Iran, 57 years ago, but my family had already resided in Chicago, Illinois. Early memories … I ended up coming from Tehran to Chicago directly, and was very very much impressed with the city and the way that the infrastructure was well built."

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Onaba
Onaba Payab: From a War-Torn Country to Dialogues with Former First Ladies

"Growing up in a war-torn country, I never realized that one day my passion would take me to the US to moderate a discussion between former First Lady Laura Bush and then-First Lady Michelle Obama; or that I would be part of a delegation of Afghan women at the US Capitol to promote women’s inclusion in peace-building."

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Makiz Nasirahmad: A Balance of Eastern and Western Values

"I was born in Balkh a historical province in northern Afghanistan home to the first proto-urban civilization in the area which arose during the 2nd millennium BC. I grew up in Moscow, Russia. I went to high school in Boston."

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Tamer Abousoud Exploring Opportunities Beyond Borders
Tamer Abousoud: Exploring Opportunities Beyond Borders

"When I was in Egypt I just could no longer re-assimilate, and I felt like there was so much that was wrong with so many things there that I just couldn’t accept. There’s always a chance to course correct and try something else. That’s the beauty of America. No one’s going to get upset with you if you try something and it doesn’t work out. That’s a very unique thing."

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Daniela Ramsey: Serving Through Belief

"My best friend growing up, my neighbor, she was Muslim. My childhood best friend. That’s what I knew and I said, you know what if I feel this way, you know I should be in this religion. So I started actually converting and practicing during college."

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Amal Amaskan From Paris to Chicago Letting Things Come Into Place
Amal Amaskane: From Paris, to Chicago- Letting Things Come Into Place

"I was born in one of the suburbs of Paris. I need to specify that, in France, “suburb” doesn’t have the same meaning that it has here in the US. It doesn’t have the affluence, and wealthy vibes that you guys associate with it here. So I grew up in a house project in the suburbs of Paris in France. Both of my parents are Moroccan, and they are proud to remain Moroccan with French resident cards."

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Asad Zaman Success
Asad Zaman: Being Your Best Self

"Then, I applied for my residency training, and I matched in Chicago to the University of Chicago’s program at Weiss hospital and made the transition into Chicago."

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Awatif Yahya Break the Norm
Awatif Yahya: Breaking From the Norm

"I lived every day of my life with the utmost intention and determination to break from the norm. I wanted to show everyone another story for a Muslim woman, full of twists and turns. I wanted to leave bold, bright and inspirational footsteps for a different path for future generations of young Muslim women."

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Samia Kemal Raised by TV
Samia Kemal: Raised by TV

Samia Kemal grew up in the leafy green haven of Connecticut. Surrounded by her mostly white classmates, she cultivated a dry sense of humor to make sense of her insulated world, and hungrily sought out media and pop culture as an escape. Here, she reflects on how her outspoken nature has fueled her career in […]

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News Updates


MALA Honors Groundbreaking Yemeni-American Journalist

Rasheed Al-Nozili founded Yemeni American News, America’s leading Yemeni-American news source At MALA’s Third Annual Gala on November 6, 2018, MALA honored Rasheed Al-Nozili with MALA’s Community Builder Award for Journalism. Al-Nozili is the publisher of the Yemeni American Net website and the Yemeni American News, which was launched in 2008. The newspaper and website both publish […]

Nov 26, 2018

US End FGM/C Network Statement on Judge’s Decision in Michigan Case

The shocking and disappointing news of the decision on Tuesday, November 20th 2018 to invalidate the federal FGM/C law, which has led to the dismissal of several key charges against the two doctors and six others accused of subjecting nine girls to FGM/C in the historic FGM /C case in Michigan further validates that this issue even more prevalent in the United States, as nearly half a million women and girls face the threat of being cut without their consent. As a member of the US End FGM/C Network Steering Committee, we share the collective Network Statement in response to this case.

Nov 25, 2018

Orange The World: #HearMeToo: Amplifying Voices to Eliminate Gender Based Violence

For this campaign, in partnership with UN Women, we encourage everyone to stand tall against all forms of violence that affect women and girls. By making our activism inclusive, by broadening the base of our empathy, and expanding the horizons of how we engage with advocacy, we can build communities that are more informed, less afraid, and safe for everyone.

Nov 20, 2018
twitttersMALA@MALANational