Our Stories

Click portraits below to follow each individual’s journey.

Samira Sadeque: To See In Infinites — How I Use Storytelling to Unlearn the World

Samira Sadeque is a New York-based Bangladeshi journalist and poet focusing on migration, the refugee community, gender, and mental health. She completed her M.S. in Journalism from Columbia Journalism School in 2017. Her work appears in Reuters, NPR, Al Jazeera, Quartz, The Lily, Scroll.in, and the Dhaka Tribune among other publications. Her poetry has been […]

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Muzhdah Karimi: Education, Diplomacy, and Identity

Muzhdah grew up in Afghanistan under Taliban rule before immigrating to the United States. In her story, she discusses the importance of education, her passion for diplomacy, and her own journey to self-discovery. I am a college student, a research assistant for my professor, an intern at the U.S. Department of State, and mother of […]

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Rozan Abdulrahman: Adjusting to a Fluid Identity

Rozan comes from a Kurdish family who received asylum in the U.S. after they fled civil conflict in Iraq. Here, she describes some of the obstacles she faced adjusting to life in the U.S., her career in healthcare, and the fluidity of identity.

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Nooria Nodrat: Chasing Milesones, Pushing Forward

Nooria Nadrat discusses her journey as an activist in the blind community and shares words of empowerment.

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Mehak Hafeez: Women

"These are the women who ignited the light in my life nd told me, 'We are in this together'. Now I am one of them."

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Zain Jinnah
Zain Jinnah: Thriving on Different

Zain Jinnah is a member of the 2018-19 MALA Young Leaders Fellowship. Fellows participate in digital seminars, dinner discussions, and other MALA events. As part of the program, Fellows reflect on their multiple layers of identities – as daughters, sons, professionals, athletes, and so much more – and share those reflections into the MALA story collection. Personal […]

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Aisha Malik
Aisha Malik: Freedom Means Human Development

Aisha Malik is a member of the 2018-19 MALA Young Leaders Fellowship. Fellows participate in digital seminars, dinner discussions, and other MALA events. As part of the program, Fellows reflect on their multiple layers of identities – as daughters, sons, professionals, athletes, and so much more – and share those reflections into the MALA story collection. Personal […]

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Sadaf Jaffer
Sadaf Jaffer: Finding Common Humanity

Sadaf Jaffer is a member of the 2018-19 MALA Young Leaders Fellowship. Fellows participate in digital seminars, dinner discussions, and other MALA events. As part of the program, Fellows reflect on their multiple layers of identities – as daughters, sons, professionals, athletes, and so much more – and share those reflections into the MALA story collection. Personal […]

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Aqsa Sukhera
Aqsa Sukhera: Keeping Heritage Alive

Aqsa Sukhera is a member of the 2018-19 MALA Young Leaders Fellowship. Fellows participate in digital seminars, dinner discussions, and other MALA events. As part of the program, Fellows reflect on their multiple layers of identities – as daughters, sons, professionals, athletes, and so much more – and share those reflections into the MALA story collection. Personal […]

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Nausheen Rajan
Nausheen Rajan: Navigating Identity

Nausheen Rajan is a member of the 2018-19 MALA Young Leaders Fellowship. Fellows participate in monthly digital seminars, dinner discussions, and other MALA events. As part of the program, Fellows reflect on their multiple layers of identities – as daughters, sons, professionals, athletes, and so much more – and share those reflections into the MALA story […]

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Mohammed Maaz Rehan
Mohammed Maaz Rehan: Striving for Impact

Mohammed Maaz Rehan is a member of the 2018-19 MALA Young Leaders Fellowship. Fellows participate in digital seminars, dinner discussions, and other MALA events. As part of the program, Fellows reflect on their multiple layers of identities – as daughters, sons, professionals, athletes, and so much more – and share those reflections into the MALA story […]

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Salma Echahly
Salma Echahly: Embracing My Past, Present, and My Future

Salma Echahly is a member of the 2018-19 MALA Young Leaders Fellowship. Fellows participate in monthly digital seminars, dinner discussions, and other MALA events. As part of the program, Fellows reflect on their multiple layers of identities – as daughters, sons, professionals, athletes, and so much more – and share those reflections into the MALA story […]

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Megan Cort Bridging Cultures
Megan Cort: Respecting and Appreciating Differences and Similarities

"I have recently returned from my third trip to Jordan. As I got to finally communicate with locals in their language, learn about their culture, and experience their day-to-day lives, I realized how so different and yet very similar we all are. Despite our differences in race, religion, language, and cultural, deep down we are all the same."

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Ramiz Shaikh
Ramiz Shaikh: Finding a Place in the Melting Pot

Ramiz Shaikh shares his journey from growing up as a Muslim in Hindu-majority India to exploring his identity in the melting pot of America.   I was born in Ahmedabad, India, and spent most of my teenage and adult life in Great Barrington, a small town in Southern Berkshire, Massachusetts. My family lived in an […]

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Baktash Ahadi Serving the Greater Good
Baktash Ahadi: Serving the Greater Good

"Serving America in the country of my birth proved to be one of the proudest and most valuable experiences of my life. I had the honor of serving alongside brave American and Afghan soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice to bring peace to Afghanistan. I have since made it my moral obligation to continue to serve people and causes that matter most to me."

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Laleh Bakhtiar I Follow the Religion of Love
Laleh Bakhtiar: I Follow the Religion of Love

"Not having considered going back to college, it suddenly felt as if that was exactly what I needed to do. I enrolled in graduate school. I was to earn two MAs, one in Philosophy with a Concentration in Religious Studies and one in Counseling Psychology. This, then led to a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology which I completed in 1992 at the age of fifty-five."

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News Updates


Nowruz Global Fest- March 30th, 2019

The Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA) and AMENA Creative have reserved the venue at Northeastern Illinois University through the Mossadegh Initiative for a Nowruz Celebration, marking the arrival of spring through music, visual arts, and culinary seminars. This includes and one of a kind tasting and a historical journey through the history of Shiraz wine, while exploring exquisite cookbooks of the Sassanid Dynasty of the Persian Empire. Discover more than 3,000 years of tradition and customs with us, as we celebrate a rich history of ancient rites and customs.

Feb 21, 2019

MALA and Center for Jewish History to host Oscar-nominated “RBG”,with filmmakers Nadine Natour and Julie Cohen

Join MALA and the Center for Jewish History for a special screening and panel discussion of this critically acclaimed award-winning documentary.Following the film, RBG Director/Producer Julie Cohen and Associate Producer Nadine Natour discuss their own fascinating journeys chronicling the life and career of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Feb 21, 2019

MALA Publishes Article on Library of Congress Blog

With the publication of this article it is our hope that the Muslim American Journeys project, and all of the unique stories it represents, can be a resource for those who wish to learn from, and identify with the triumphs, struggles, and journeys of Muslims in America.

Feb 19, 2019
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